Thursday 28 May 2020


Hank Willis Thomas
Colonialism and Abstract Art, 2019
Screenprint on canvas
183 × 137 cm
(click on image for better resolution)

Adopted from the 1936 diagram “Cubism and Abstract Art” created by the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, “Colonialism and Abstract Art” attempts to visually describe the connections surrounding the historical, socioeconomic, and cultural movements in Belgium, the Congo, and western art history over the span of a century. Focusing distinctly on the century from 1870 to 1970 represents a pivotal time when Africa was colonized by European forces and highlights the ramifications that followed as a result of the colonization of the area. Alfred H. Barr Jr. created his chart to illustrate the genealogy of modern art from Impressionism to Surrealism and the Bauhaus which he "intended as an historical survey of an important movement in modern art." This is Thomas’ attempt to draw greater connections in a historical, political timeline.

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