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)
This item is not on view
Edition: 2/3, (2 AP)
Gift of the artist and Jack Shainman in honor of Arnold Lehman
© Hank Willis Thomas
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
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)
overall, 2015.57a-b_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.