Hank Willis Thomas Has a New Show and We Went to the Opening
Artists Hank Willis Thomas had a big opening last night for his big new show at the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. The gallery is a pretty huge space, and Hank filled up the whole thing with his interesting brand of art which comments on modern-day race relations. Given the current feeling by some people that we are living in a post-racial society, Hank makes provocative statements and asks important questions about such views. While some of his stuff, especially the advertising and word-based art, can be a bit heavy-handed and treads ground already canonized by Barbara Krueger or Jenny Holzer (they were clearly speaking to slightly different issues, but in the end it's all about power relations), the pieces that create visual metaphors and puns, such as the basektball jersey quilt or the stockades and well-placed microphone, are very striking and affecting. I also enjoyed the use of fancy plastic encasing, which shifts the art from black to white, depending on where you stand. I see what you did there, Hank.
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