(MAM) & Yard School of Art offer American, Native American, & contemporary art exhibitions, programs, & classes in NJ

4th Annual Gaelen Family Artist Lecture

04/11/2019 07:30 PM ET


Adult Programs


  • $15.00


A Conversation About Art as Social Justice: Hank Willis Thomas & Deborah Willis

Artist and activist Hank Willis Thomas and his mother, the artist and photographic historian Deborah Willis, will share the stage for a stimulating conversation about American identity, history, and popular culture. Thomas co-founded For Freedoms, the first artist- run super PAC, a non-partisan vehicle for participation in the arts to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values. His “speech bubble” sculpture Ernest and Ruth, is an iconic work on MAM’s grounds. Moderated by MAM Director Lora Urbanelli. Q&A to follow discussion.


Educators earn 2 hours of PD credit.

$12 members / $15 nonmembers / $5 student with ID / FREE for MAM contemporaries registrants


Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural, Africana Studies, where she teaches courses on Photography & Imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender.  Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation; contemporary women photographers and beauty.  Willis is the director of the NYU Institute for African American Affairs and the Center for Black Visual Culture.

She received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and was a Richard D. Cohen Fellow in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, and an Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Fellow. She has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. Read more

Photo: Alice Proujansky



Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), and For Freedoms, an artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement. In 2017, For Freedoms was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2018), Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), the AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), the Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a member of the New York City Public Design Commission. Read more

Photo: Andrea Blanch







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