Hank Willis Thomas
Jack Shainman Gallery
Working with visual emblems of civic engagement, Hank Willis Thomas presents 15,093 and 15,580 (both 2018), embroidered fabric works each recalling the American flag but with stars that number lives lost by gun violence in recent years. As we look at this distorted symbol of America, we are left to ask ourselves who and what the stars represent.
Hank Willis Thomas has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. His first comprehensive survey, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…, will open at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon, Fall 2019. Notable solo and group exhibitions include his 2017 AIMIA | AGO Prize winning exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Blind Memory and Freedom Isn’t Always Beautiful, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (2017); Repetition and Difference, Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Hank Willis Thomas, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (2013–2014); Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2014–2015); Hank Willis Thomas: Strange Fruit, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2011–2012); and 30 Americans, Rubell Family Collection, Florida (2008), which is still traveling widely today. His solo show Hank Willis Thomas: Branded/Unbranded opened at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida in February and Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded opens at the Block Museum of Art, Chicago, on April 14, 2018. In April, Thomas’ work will be unveiled at the Equal Justice Initiative The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration. Thomas will be the subject of a major publication with Aperture, to be published October 2018.
Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. In 2016 Thomas cofounded For Freedoms, the first artist-run super PAC, which won an International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Online Platform and New Media in 2017 and lives on as a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States. His collaborative and public projects have been shown around the world, including in Afghanistan, Australia, South Africa, and Hong Kong. In 2015 he was appointed to the Public Design Commission for the City of New York, and in 2017 was awarded a Soros Equality Fellowship.