Hank Willis Thomas
Aperture Gallery and Bookstore (547 West 27th St., Manhattan)
Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design, is pleased to present an artist talk with Hank Willis Thomas. Appropriation and juxtaposition are two of many strategies with which Thomas orchestrates his interdisciplinary practice. His series Unbranded (2008) uses advertisements lifted from the pages African-American interest magazines; Thomas subtly reworks them, removing key text, logos, and/or products. The skeletal remains betray immediately the subliminal prejudice common throughout consumer culture. Another series, Branded (2011), adopts a commercial vernacular to decry the commodification of African-Americans, both in contemporary sports and in the historical slave trade. A basketball player dunks into a noose, for example, or a Nike swoosh is branded onto a man’s head. Thomas’s images confront our difficult history through the universal legibility of advertising.