A Conversation on Art and Politics with Hank Willis Thomas, Christine Eyene, and Patrick Gaspard
Hank Willis Thomas often incorporates recognizable icons into his work, many from well-known advertising and branding campaigns. Thomas sees cultural disconnects everywhere in day-to-day living, particularly as they relate to race—which he understands to be a figment of our imagination.
In a 2013 New York Times review, Holland Cotter writes: “[Hank] has been particularly astute in examining the workings of what W. E. B. Du Bois called double consciousness, the condition in which people see themselves reflected, often negatively, in the view of others and end up molding their lives to confirm that view.” In this way, his work has gone beyond simply making art to examining and exposing deeper divides in our culture.
During this evening conversation, Thomas, curator Christine Eyene, and Open Society Foundations president Patrick Gaspard review the artist’s work in light of evolving political contexts.
Patrick Gaspard is president of the Open Society Foundations.
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist whose work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is a 2017 recipient of the Soros Equality Fellowship.
Christine Eyene is an art historian, critic, and curator. She is a research fellow in contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire.
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