Hank Willis Thomas

Artist lecture Thursday, April 13, 2017 7PM
Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco CA, 94107
Zero Hour, 2012.

Free and open to the public
No RSVP – Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis

Photo conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas works with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He often incorporates recognizable icons into his work, such as well-known advertising and branding campaigns, to explore the impact of mass image culture on the construction of identity. He first became known for B®anded, a series of photographs, and Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008, a body of work created from appropriating advertising images. In an interview with Time Magazine, Thomas said, “Part of advertising’s success is based on its ability to reinforce generalizations developed around race, gender and ethnicity which are generally false, but [these generalizations] can sometimes be entertaining, sometimes true, and sometimes horrifying.”

Thomas sees cultural disconnects everywhere in day-to-day living particularly as it relates to race. His work examines and exposes deep divides within our culture. Of Thomas’ work in the collaborative transmedia project, Question Bridge, Holland Cotter wrote in the New York Times, “…he has been particularly astute in examining the workings of what W.E.B. Du Bois called double consciousness, the condition in which people see themselves reflected, often negatively, in the view of others and end up molding their lives to confirm that view.” In 2015, Thomas co-founded For Freedoms, the first artist-run Super PAC, which leverages the power of art to foster deeper civic engagement within contemporary political discourse. Question Bridge and For Freedoms have also been awarded ICP Infinity Awards, in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Thomas was the first recipient of the Aperture West Book Prize for his 2008 monograph, Pitch Blackness, published by Aperture. He received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in Photography and MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco. He has exhibited throughout the US and abroad including The International Center of Photography; Studio Museum in Harlem; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; and Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France.


Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to present the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each year, the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program brings six photographers, writers, and curators to San Francisco to offer free and open lectures, and to work one-on-one with students at California College of the Arts.


Larry Sultan Photography Award


Bieke Depoorter, from the series I am about to call it a day, 2010.

Bieke Depoorter

Fall 2018 Residency
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Click HERE for more information on the Larry Sultan Photography Award

Photographer Bieke Depoorter (b. 1986, Belgium) travels the world to find her subjects, creating extraordinarily intimate photographs that straddle portraiture, documentary, and fiction. The relationships she creates with those she photographs are the key to her work. As Depoorter describes it, “The relationships I establish with my subjects are the foundation of my artistic practice…. The resulting stories are always partially mine, partially theirs.”

In her early work, Depoorter traveled to far-flung locales in Russia, Egypt, and the United States, befriending locals to photograph. She asked her subjects if she could spend the night in their homes, building rapport and trust that eventually allowed her to capture the mundane, routine, ordinary moments of their lives. Depoorter’s first such project, Ou Menya, documented her encounters in the homes of locals in Russia. She completed a similar, long-term project in the United States titled I am about to call it a day.

In As It May Be, a project photographed in Egypt beginning just after the revolution in 2011, she tried to find trust in a time of turmoil and suspicion, in an environment where private life is often shielded. With this project, she also started to question her use of the photographic medium. Conscious of her status as an outsider, she returned to Egypt in 2017 with the first draft of the book, inviting others to write comments directly on the photographs. Contrasting views on country, religion, society, and photography arise among people who would otherwise never engage in a dialogue with one another. In Sete#15 (2015) and the short film Dvalemodus (2017), she began to conceive of her subjects as actors, projecting her own fictional narratives onto her subjects’ factual environments, thereby blurring the line between her world and theirs. In her most recent projects, such as the ongoing project Agata (2017), Depoorter works even more collaboratively with her subjects.

She has published four books, and her work has been shown in the United States and Europe, including Photomuseum The Hague, The Netherlands and an upcoming exhibition at FOMU Antwerp, Belgium. She joined the Magnum agency as a nominee in 2012 and a full member in 2016. She is the recipient of the Magnum Expression award and the Prix levallois, among other accolades.

Depoorter lives and works in Ghent, Belgium.