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Hank Willis Thomas  New York, NY

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Hank Willis

The B(r)anded series is a result of an exploration, and subsequent appropriation of the language of advertising. By employing the ubiquitous language of advertising in my work, I am able to talk explicitly about race, class and history in a medium that almost everyone can decode. Much of the work focuses on the use of African American male body in advertisements. I am interested in the connection between this body type and the cotton and slave trade industries that brought this country so much wealth.

Hank Willis appears in the following Top 10 lists



'New York'



10 of 50 reactions displayed

"much of his art is a LOT better than these pieces."

"Inmature approach to a serious issue and to art."

"Visit the artist's site - the rest of his work in this vein makes his point much better than this one, and taken as a whole it is a very powerful statement. I'll share it with others, for sure."

"In many ways Art is defined by pushing limits, provoking thoughts out of the box, even shocking. Throughout history notable artists shattered the acceptable notions of what was suitable. In this case the negative comments attest to the above as well as to the commentators' personal sensitivities. I find the premise interesting, pointed, and necessary.I applaud the idea and its execution!"

"Eh. Not art in my opinion, but it's interesting on how controversial it is."

"I love art that puts the message directly out there instead of making you stare at it thinking "What the hell?...". Very nice."

"I get what you are saying & applaud the message, find the Mastercard logo a bit cheezy. Lived in NYC for 25+ years & it is appalling how once you move out, you find everyone so pro gun rights and totally not understanding. I'm 50 yo & waiting for the day that nobody notices race or gender, and that day is approaching slowly. I assume you are African-Amer & so support your choice to explore slavery, however, I have to say, that I also look forward to the day when people understand that slavery is an abomination visited on many races over time, when more emphasis is placed on the idea that holocaust-type exterminations happened to many races & is a crime against humanity in general, & please remember that the vast majority of people in the US now did not have ancestors in the US at the time slavery took place. None of us should forget any of these things, and none of us should allow them to exist, just I hope one day it is taught as an overall philosophy that cannot be condoned and not as individual atrocities visited on one race alone. Good luck!"

"It's not in bad taste, that's a ridiculous "critique" of any art. The problem is that it's not in "bad taste" enough. Comments that it's shocking and abrasive...really? It's all pretty obvious and too...easy I'd say. It's either trying to comment on a change that needs to be made, in which case it needs to find something much more unexpected or it's trying to comment on how weak the current attempts to do that are, in which case it needs to be much more layered.Get the audience participating, no one learns/discovers if they don't have to think."

"This artwork portrays a forced message. I do believe, however, that you should use the brilliant creativity, such as in the bullets bottle, in more of your work."

"Intense commentary and VERY well done. It moved me deeply and I hope to see more work from you."

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