Hank Willis Thomas, 14,719, 2019. Embroidered stars on polyester fabric, each: 320 × 31 in (812.8 × 78.7 cm). “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,” 2021. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.
In conjunction with the New Museum’s exhibition “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,” the New Museum is honored to host a series of artist conversations highlighting the practices of artists participating in this exhibition.
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Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, Plainfield, NJ) works across photography, sculpture, video, and collaborative public art projects to address how visual and verbal systems in popular culture can perpetuate bias and discrimination. His powerful and poetic works invite viewers to question these systems, raising critical awareness for issues of inequity and injustice, and illustrating how art can be a catalyst to effect political and social change. Thomas’s first mid-career retrospective exhibition “All Things Being Equal…” was organized by the Portland Museum in Oregon (2019) and traveled to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas (2020) and the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio (2020). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the ICA Miami, FL (2019); SCAD Museum of Arts, Savannah, GA (2017); California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016); the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (2013); and the International Center of Photography, New York, NY (2013). In 2016 Thomas co-founded the artist-led collective For Freedoms, a platform for creative civic engagement in the United States, which was awarded the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas was recently chosen to design Boston’s Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Memorial in conjunction with MASS Design group. He is also the recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2018), Art for Justice Grant (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a former member of the New York City Public Design Commission.