After his recent “back-to-back-to-back” Aperture West lecture series tour, Hank Willis Thomas unguardedly recounts his experience with presenting his work at various west coast art institutions. On as genuine a note as his lecture a few weeks ago, he had this to say about his experience at the Henry:
“I was still working on my presentation while Director Sylvia Wolf was introducing me. That became obvious to everyone when it flashed across the screen. Then Christina, practically a stranger at the time, came up to the mic and on tip toes read an awesome intro which referred to me as one of the most important artists of our generation (or something like that). To which I thought, “then how come I don’t feel it?.” Well, no matter what I was thinking, when it came time to talk about the work I practically became possessed! All of a sudden this sense of poise came over me and I spoke incredibly well about the influence of my mother, Deborah Willis, on my work, and I flowed into the book and onto other projects almost as if I had been reading a well-written script. When it was over, I could tell the the audience was engaged and affected by my words and my work. And even stranger than that, I felt like they knew me really well! It’s weird to make a career of bearing your soul to strangers, but I guess that is what most artists do. The books sold out, the chief curator Elizabeth A. Brown gave us a quick tour of the awesome Richard Misrach show they were installing, and we went to a great dinner with a few friends.”
To read more from the road account from Hank Willis Thomas visit the the Aperture West blog.