Hank Willis Thomas. Duke Natural, 1968. 2006

Hank Willis Thomas Duke Natural, 1968 2006

  • Not on view

This photograph is part of Thomas’s series UNBRANDED: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968–2008, which features images appropriated from magazine advertisements aimed at African Americans or that feature black subjects. The ads, from which Thomas digitally removed all branding information, were made for a range of products, including hair relaxers, menthol cigarettes, and body lotions, and for multinational companies such as McDonald’s, Coca–Cola, and American Express. The ads reinforce generalizations and cultural stereotypes around race, gender, and ethnicity and reflect how a culture views itself and its aspirations. His investigation encourages viewers to look critically at how mass–produced and widely disseminated images in the media construct and reinforce stereotypes about African American life, and how the public participates in these narratives.

Gallery label from XL: 19 New Acquisitions in Photography, May 10, 2013–January 6, 2014.
Medium
Chromogenic print
Dimensions
27 15/16 × 20 11/16" (71 × 52.6 cm)
Credit
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
69.2011
Copyright
© 2022 Hank Willis Thomas
Department
Photography

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