Hank Willis Thomas Explores Race, Gender at Art Basel

EYES IN™ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk is covering Art Basel 2014 live and shares the latest from the world's innovative artists. Hank Willis Thomas is known for his extensive use of archival visual records and addressing the social constructions of race, gender, and commodity. He is also known for his participation in The Truth Booth, among other exhibitions.

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The Truth Booth

The Truth Booth is a giant inflatable speech bubble and video recording booth traveling the world In Search of The Truth.

In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth) is an installation comprised of a touring, portable, inflatable ‘Truth Booth’ that embarked on a world tour at the Galway Arts Festival, Ireland in 2011. The exterior is "iconically" shaped like a giant cartoon speech bubble with the word ‘TRUTH’ printed on the side. The interior acts much like a photo booth, but serves to compile 2 minute long video responses from the public. Once seated inside people are invited to record their opinions and thoughts as they finish the statement: “The truth is…”.

Throughout this long-term project the video footage will be compiled and edited into a video installation. To expand and engage with audiences, the movements of The Truth Booth and sample responses will also be tracked, edited, and categorized on this website. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to try to capture as many definitions, confessions and thoughts on The Truth as possible, creating a diverse ‘portrait’ of people across the globe.

Hank Willis Thomas / History Doesn't Laugh

Solo Exhibition at Goodman Gallery

Goodman Gallery Cape Town is pleased to present History Doesn’t Laugh, a solo exhibition by Hank Willis Thomas first seen in the Johannesburg gallery earlier this year, which highlights the artist’s interest in representing photographic ideas through unconventional materials.

For this exhibition, Thomas scoured numerous publications and archives looking for graphics, images and audio that exemplify, through popular culture, South Africa’s recent history. The result is a fascinating combination of installations, objects, and prints that present the visual complexities of the not-so-distant past.

A series of photo-derived sculptures cast in aluminum, silicone and bronze re-frame the original image by focusing on the impact of hand gestures. In his more familiar style, the artist appropriates graphically striking political buttons and increases them in size to large-scale wall hangings. The exhibition also includes screen-printed images from various magazines, re-contextualized in a manner that exaggerates the hyper-reality of the time in which they were originally produced.

Hank Willis Thomas is known for his extensive use of archival visual records to work through ideas that address the social constructions of race, gender, and commodity. He uses the black body in advertising to articulate how these ideas are generated in perpetuated in consumer culture. Recognizing the similarity in histories between the United States and South Africa, Thomas revitalizes and enhances his techniques to compliment his traditional oeuvre. In doing so, he smartly decodes popular images with the intention of proposing and unveiling new social and cultural meanings.

Goodman Gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach

The Goodman Gallery is at the forefront of contemporary art in Africa. Its focus is on artists from South Africa, the greater African Continent, and other countries that engage in a dialogue with the African context.
The Goodman Gallery attends Art Basel Mail Beach from the 4th to 7th of December at the Miami Convention Center, exhibiting the works by Willem Boshoff, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Mounir Fatmi, Kendell Geers, Alfredo Jaar, William Kentridge, Liza Lou, Mikhael Subotzky, Hank Willis Thomas and Jeremy Wafer. This year’s Art Basel Miami Beach’s Art Public sector features work by Goodman Gallery artists Jaar and Thomas while young artists Haroon Gunn-Salie and Gerald Machona both have work on the film sector. Tracey Rose will present a continuous performance piece in the Positions sector where she will be represented by Dan Gunn.

For more innovative art, follow @EYESINMagazine.

Image Credit: Vivian Van Dijk
Add'l Source: Goodman Gallery and The Truth Booth

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