Hank Willis Thomas

Conceptual Artist

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist based in Brooklyn working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du Quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands. Mr. Thomas’ work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

Most recently, his bronze sculpture The Embrace was installed on Boston Common in December 2022, which commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King through a recreation of the embrace they shared after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Mr. Thomas’s first comprehensive survey, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal, traveled throughout the U.S. in 2019 and 2020 and highlighted his devotion to reframing perspectives on difficult issues central to American history and the representation of race and the politics of visual culture.

His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth), The Writing on the Wall, and For Freedoms, which was awarded the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. In 2012, Question Bridge: Black Males debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and was selected for the New Media Grant from the Tribeca Film Institute. Mr. Thomas is also the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a member of the New York City Public Design Commission. Mr. Thomas attended the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, D.C. He holds a B.F.A. from New York University (1998) and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts (2004). He received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts in 2017. Mr. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Pace Gallery, Los Angeles; Ben Brown Fine Arts, London; Goodman Gallery, South Africa; and Marauni Mercier, Belgium.