Exhibitions , San Francisco

Hank Willis Thomas: Evidence of Things Not Seen

Exhibition dates: February 24 – April 9
Opening: February 24, 6-9pm
Hours: Weds – Sat, 2-7pm or by appointment

Borrowing its title from James Baldwin’s 1985 essay on the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-81, Evidence of Things Not Seen, this solo exhibition amplifies notions of presence and absence, sound and silence, and visibility and invisibility in the work of Hank Willis Thomas. Through his installations, photography, videos, and media works, Hank Willis Thomas uses images and themes from advertising and pop-culture to expose their reinforcement of generalizations surrounding gender, race and ethnicity. In his legibly present, but audibly absent text-based works, ‘voices’ are disembodied or silent, but their narratives and images reveal a hauntingly voluble history of resistance. Similarly, where figures are visually present, words are absent, suggesting a tension between when, how, why, and who society enables to speak. Including recent installations that incorporate the literal echo of pioneers of racial equality—like Baldwin and Nelson Mandela—the artworks comprising the ‘evidence’ foreground the complexities of how visibility and invisibility are inexorably attached to identity.

Film Series curated by Hank Willis Thomas
In connection to the exhibition, Hank Willis Thomas selected these films in homage to innovative and influential creators in the medium of film whose work supports social justice as well as explores contemporary notions of identity, race, history and a national legacy of resistance. In partnership with The Roxie Theater, Kadist presents a selection of these films to be screened throughout the course of the exhibition’s run. Details for the screenings at the Roxie can be found here. Details for all screenings at Kadist (all free admission) below:



Saturday, March 5, 5pm

They Live

Directed by John Carpenter. 95 min. USA. 1988.


Saturday, March 12, 5pm

Putney Swope

Directed by Robert Downey Sr. 84 min. USA. 1969.


Saturday, March 19, 5pm

Through a Lens Darkly

Directed by Thomas Allen Harris. 92 min. USA. 2014.


Saturday, March 26, 5pm

Our Song

Directed by Jim McKay. 95 min. USA. 2000.


Saturday, April 2, 5pm

Life and Debt

Directed by Stephanie Black. 80 min. USA. 2001.


Saturday, April 9, 5pm

Selection of collaborative short films and video works by Hank Willis Thomas

Marking the close of the exhibition, and punctuating his curated film series, several film and video works by the artist will be presented together in sequence. Works include Winter in America (2005), Along the Way (2007), A Common Misunderstanding (2011), Overtime (2011), Question Bridge (2012), Peace (2013), and Am I Going Too Fast? (2014). The screenings will be followed by a discussion with some of Hank Willis Thomas’ collaborators on the films: Ryan Alexiev, Jessica Ingram, and Chris Johnson.