For the longest time, Hank Willis Thomas has been a muscular force in the art world. From sculptures to photography, mixed-media, to public art, his career of exposing and applying social justice topics came long before a wave of positive movements in the art world that have emerged in recent years. As the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, opens its new satellite contemporary art space, Momentary, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… will be one of the inaugural exhibitions. Thomas is a fitting candidate. The current iteration of All Things Being Equal… on view this past fall at the Portland Museum of Art, features all the hallmarks of one vital and authoritative voice. Sports photography manipulated into historical perspectives, quilts made from commercial sports jerseys and prison uniforms, video installations, interactive two-dimensional and time-based works seamlessly flow together in themes about racism, violence, inequality, and injustice. That sports become a centerpiece of the visual identity of the work results in an approachable, pop-centric starting point that ebbs and flows through some of the most unspoken atrocities in American history. This mid-career survey of the 43-year-old artist is just the beginning of what will continue to be many that study one of America’s most dynamic artists.
Crystal Bridges Museum // February 08, 2020 - April 20, 2020