Ask Hank

A Virtual Event with Artist and Activist Hank Willis Thomas

The Art Academy of Cincinnati (AAC) in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum is pleased to host Ask Hank, a virtual Q&A with internationally acclaimed artist, Hank Willis Thomas. The event is open to the public and will take place Thursday, September 3, from 6:30-7:30 pm on the Art Academy’s Facebook page.

As an action of open social engagement and equality, the public may pre-submit questions to the artist about his artistic practice, community organizing, and activism. The questions will be gathered by Nathaniel Stein, Associate Curator of Photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Emily Hanako Momohara, Associate Professor of Studio Art at the Art Academy.

Coinciding with the virtual event, Thomas’ billboard “All Li es Matter” will be on display on the Art Academy’s Over-the-Rhine campus, September 2-November 9. The billboard was originally on view in 2018 as part of For Freedoms 50 State Initiative. For Freedoms was founded in 2016 as the first-ever artist-run Super PAC for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action.

Thomas’ billboard was inspired by the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, created in opposition to #BlackLivesMatter.“His response directly addresses the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Momohara. “There is a need for equitable social structures and for black Americans to be enfranchised.”

Momohara and Thomas have worked together before. In 2008, he was an artist in resident at the Art Academy through the former Lightborne Lecture Series. 2018 Momohara curated the Ohio Artists For Freedoms exhibition at Art Academy in response to the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative.

“Bringing artists like Hank Willis Thomas to the Art Academy is essential to our student experience not just for students of color but for all students to understand the fabric of our country and how each of us plays a role in a better future.”

Hank Willis Thomas

HANK WILLIS THOMAS (b. 1976, Plainfield, NJ; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.

His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Thomas holds a B.F.A. from New York University, New York, NY (1998), and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). He received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, ME in 2017.

In 2019, Thomas unveiled his permanent work “Unity” in Brooklyn, NY. In 2017, “Love Over Rules” permanent neon was unveiled in San Francisco, CA, and “All Power to All People” in Opa Locka, FL.

Submit your questions for Hank Willis Thomas HERE.