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ARTE NOIR EDITORIAL

HANK WILLIS THOMAS AT THE HENRY

Mark your calendars and plan a trip to the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington to catch this iconic exhibit, opening February 24th.


multicolored images in a collage featuring famous Black icons including Harry Belafonte, Josephine Baker and  more
Hank Willis Thomas (American (b. 1976)) An All Colored Cast, 2019 UV print on retroreflective vinyl, mounted on Dibond 98 x 182 1/4 in. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer Image: Courtesy of Kayne Griffin, now Pace Los Angeles

Hank Willis Thomas: LOVERULES - From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

February 24, 2024 — August 04, 2024


Hank Willis Thomas: LOVERULES is an expansive exhibition featuring 90 works covering the 20 years of artist and activist Thomas’s prolific interdisciplinary career, including photo-conceptualist works and sculpture that examine American culture, with a particular focus on perceptions of race and gender. LOVERULES also highlights several important series, including Branded and Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America. In Branded, Thomas explores and re-contextualizes the history of brand advertising and sponsorship through the iconography of sport. In Unbranded, Thomas digitally removes advertising punchlines and logos, with both series thereby highlighting the consistently dehumanizing strategies of corporate media, the commodification of African-American identity, and the ways in which dominant cultural tropes shape notions of race and race relations.


Thomas employs both archival and contemporary imagery from popular culture to take on urgent questions:What is the role of art in civic life? How do advertising and visual culture create narratives that shape our notion of value in society?

A Black woman with an afro and green dangling earrings stares lovingly into her daughter's face, with a single finger touching her chin
Kama Mama, Kama Binti (Like Mother, Like Daughter), 1971/2008, from Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America, edition 4 of 5, 2008 digital chromogenic print 53 x 50 in. Collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Image: Aaron Wessling Photography

Recent years have thrown structural inequality into sharp focus. Critical awareness, civic engagement, inclusive collaboration, and empathy—among the core invitations of Thomas’s work—are powerful tools for our times. Thomas’s work guides us to the intersection of art,politics, and social justice. With incisive clarity, Thomas asks us to see and challenge systems of inequality that are woven into the fabric of contemporary life.


On your way to the exhibit, we highly suggest you take the scenic route to experience Thomas' permanent installation featuring Seattle legend Jimi Hendrix, entitled Crosstown Traffic (It's So Hard To Get Through To You), located at Judkins Park Light Rail Station on 23rd Avenue South, the first in Seattle’s Central District and part of Central Puget Sound Transit Authority (Sound Transit).

For more information on Hank Willis Thomas and his work, visit his website

For tickets and exhibit information, visit The Henry Art Gallery website



The legs of a white woman in pink high heels emerge from a large watermelon
Just ripe enough, 2005/2015, from Unbranded: A Century of White Women, edition AP2 , 2015 digital chromogenic print 52 3/16 x 40 in. Collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Image: Aaron Wessling Photography

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