Hank Willis Thomas, "What Goes Without Saying"

Like a lot of contemporary African-American artists, Thomas explores issues of race and identity in his work, though he seems particularly interested in the ways that both are influenced by advertising. More to the point, his pieces sometimes relate aspects of African-American history and experience through the prism of branding, using a wry mix of painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking. One example from 2003: an inkjet-on-canvas rendering in which the famous diagram of slaves arranged in a cargo hold is transformed into an Absolut ad.


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