Hold These Truths

November 13, 2017 - March 14, 2018

Southeast Queens Biennial

February 9 - April 21, 2018

Hank Willis Thomas

Photo conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas uses his work to engage themes of identity, history, and popular culture. In Seeker (2012), Willis Thomas collaborated with Sanford Biggers, an artist also interested in the relationship between history, politics, and contemporary culture, to play with the idea of racial hybridity. This digital C-print, based on an image from the Robert Langmuir African American Photograph Collection at Emory University, presents artist Sanford Biggers as a remixed minstrel in a top hat and tails, his face and clothing bisected into two halves – one white and one black. In this appropriation of a flagrantly racist caricature from America’s vaudevillian past, Thomas highlights the entertainment value of a vaudeville performer; however, Biggers’ minstrel is not presented in the act of performing, rather he is captured in a moment of reflection. 

Seeker, 2012
Digital C-print and plexi with Lumisty film
48.5 x 40 in.; 49 x 41 x 4 in. framed
Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with Sanford Biggers
Edition LAP 1 of 3, with 2 artist proofs
Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York