OPP: Other People’s Property, which opens January 25, 2013, in Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, is a broad survey of Thomas’ work. Curated by Kalia Brooks, former curator of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn and current adjunct professor at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, the solo show features pieces from several of Thomas’ series. Those from B®anded explore advertising language and logos, particularly those featuring African American men. Unbranded presents images from ads that were created for black audiences. Strange Fruit entwines the visual signifiers of lynching and professional sports, and Winter in America uses animated G.I. Joe figures to tell the story of Thomas’ cousin’s murder. In the many different artworks—from a framed portrait of a beatific Uncle Ben (of rice box fame) to a kitty litter ad from Ebony magazine stripped of its marketing copy—Thomas uses provocation and sly humor to help viewers understand not only their place in the consumer culture, but also how the way things are sold to us impacts how we see ourselves and others.
Image: Hank Willis Thomas, Are you the Right Kind of Woman for it?, 1974/2007