Hank Willis Thomas: Visionary Delusions excavates the theme of Still Revolution, bringing into focus the way photography has distorted Black American culture and fuelled the corporate propagation of a false utopia. The exhibition showcases, for the first time in Canada, Thomas’ most signifi- cant bodies of recent work B®ANDED and Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America.
Sourced from an evolving mass of iconic images of corporate American advertising, Thomas’ work explores the genesis of the still image in the creation of cultural identity. Advertising and branding has disconnected the public from cultural reality and has produced a new visual vocabulary that defines our relationship to objects. Perhaps the concept that “the medium is the message” has never been better exemplified than in how advertising and branding have shaped issues of race, class and culture. These issues are vividly brought to light in Thomas’ re-appropriation of the past 50 years of corporate advertising depicting Black Americans.
Thomas recently won the Aperture West Book Prize, resulting in the publication of his first monograph, Pitch Blackness (2008), which will be available during CONTACT.