Hank Willis Thomas is an American photo-conceptual artist. His work addresses history, race, class, gender, and identity, as seen through the lens of popular culture, advertising and marketing. Thomas is, in his own words, “fascinated with how history and culture are framed, who is doing the framing, and how these factors affect our interpretation of reality.” By altering familiar images, icons, and logos, Thomas raises questions about how media reflects and shapes popular opinion, and how history is negotiated, mitigated, and reconciled by the present.
Hank Willis Thomas was born in New Jersey in 1976. He attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, and California College of the Arts San Francisco, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Photography and Master of the Arts in Visual Criticism. He currently lives and works in New York City, where he is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery. He is a Visiting Professor at California College of the Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art, and International Center of Photography/Bard College. Thomas has lectured at Yale University, Princeton University, Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Museé du Quai Branly in Paris. His work has been featured in the publications 25 under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (CDS, 2003) and 30 Americans (Rubell Family Collection, 2008) and his monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published in 2008 by Aperture.