Lageisha, from the series “Studio X,” 2007
Archival Pigment Print
30 1/4 x 24 inches
Edition: AP
Retail framed: $4,300
© and courtesy Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. Willis Thomas received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in photography, along with an MA in visual criticism, from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture in 2008. He received a new media fellowship through the Tribeca Film Institute and was an artist in residence at John Hopkins University. In 2011, Thomas was a fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Studio X” is a booth at Flea Market USA, a discount emporium in the heart of the African American neighborhood of Liberty City in Miami. The specialty of this booth is “In Loving Memory Of” t-shirts, with the overwhelming majority of those commemorated being young, black men who were victims of gun violence. When this work was made, Studio X reported selling on average 500 shirts per week—more when someone popular died. Nine years later, the violent deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and so many other innocent black men draw national headlines, while we as a society continue to wrestle with issues of violence and the depth of unacknowledged racism.

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