Hank Willis Thomas
In Liberty, Hank Willis Thomas renders a two-dimensional image as a three-dimensional sculpture. The original photograph appeared in Life Magazine in 1986 and featured a Harlem Globetrotter in front of the Statue of Liberty, spinning a basketball on his finger. Interested in popular culture, photographic history, and sports as a metaphor for individual and collective struggle, Thomas created a lifesize sculpture of the moment by casting the arm of retired NBA All-Star Juwan Howard.
Liberty is part of Thomas’s Punctum series, which draws inspiration from the French philosopher Roland Barthes’s idea of the punctum: that “element which rises from the [photographic] scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces.” Using this concept as his foundation, Thomas selects a specific area of an image and re-presents it as sculpture. Through cropping and isolation, he encourages us to contemplate framing itself: what is left in or out of a photograph, narrative, or account of a historical event, and why?
Fiberglass, chameleon auto paint finish
35 x 10 x 10 in. (88.9 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the artist and Jack Shainman in honor of Arnold Lehman
This item is not on view
Hank Willis Thomas (American, born 1976). Liberty, 2015. Fiberglass, chameleon auto paint finish, 35 x 10 x 10 in. (88.9 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist and Jack Shainman in honor of Arnold Lehman, 2015.57a-b. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2015.57a-b_PS11.jpg)
Edition: 2/3, (2 AP)
overall, 2015.57a-b_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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© Hank Willis Thomas
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