Hank Willis Thomas is a contemporary visual artist and photographer focusing on race, advertising and popular culture. Thomas states that his “B(r)anded series is a result of an exploration, and subsequent appropriation of the language of advertising. Much of the work focuses on the use of African American male body in advertisements. I am interested in the connection between this body type and the cotton and slave trade industries that brought this country so much wealth.”

Thomas is the winner of the first ever Aperture West Book Prize for his monograph Pitch Blackness (November, 2008). His work was featured in the 30 Americans exhibition at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami as well as in the exhibition and accompanying catalog, 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming Photographers. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the Studio Museum in Harlem; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Jamaica, New York; Artists Space, New York; Leica Gallery, New York; Smithsonian; National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; and National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. among others. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York and Charles Guice Contemporary in California. Thomas received an MFA from California College of the Arts, as well as in Visual Criticism. He also received a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in Photography and Africana Studies.

Portland State University’s Art Department offers free public lectures every Monday night of the school year. The PSU MFA Monday Night Lecture Series is supported in part by PICA, Cooley Gallery at Reed College, Disjecta, Le Happy, Wealth Underground Farm, Bear Deluxe Magazine, Northwest Film Center. If you or your organization are interested in becoming a supporter of the lecture series please let us know.

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