Hank Willis Thomas’ 2005–08 series Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008 decontextualizes advertising images targeted toward African-American audiences in print magazines including Ebony and Jet.
For this series, Thomas appropriates and removes all branding from 4 decades of advertising photography. The result is a deceptively simple but shockingly insightful commentary on the ability of advertising to shape our cultural development and perceptions.
Using the years of Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Barack Obama’s election as start and end points, Thomas challenges viewers to distinguish between the messages conveyed through text and visual imagery.
Hank Willis Thomas
Farewell Uncle Tom, 2007
55 inches x 46 inches
© Hank Willis Thomas. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Saturday, August 10, 2019 at 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts
1221 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205