News; Nike Mercurial Superfly V CR7 Champions FG - Red/Gold UK

Published: Friday 14 July, 2017


Allen Iverson was represented by a picture of the devil. And Jay Z, lounging in a Manhattan penthouse, was parallel to an ominous brick building and a quotation: "I got my MBA from Marcy Projects.""So it was like, OK," Thomas said. "African American men are five percent of the population and are represented three times in this ad. Women are half the population and they are represented once, and it's this stereotype of Asian women as docile, innocent things. And the one white guy is a champion, even though he feels bad about it. And then you have the Chinese giant, and they clearly don't know what to do with him. We have got a monkey on a basketball with a yin yang symbol and the rising sun in the background even though that's Japan. Let's just throw it all in there. And then, yeah, the other black guy's a devil and the other one's a drug dealer. And this is to sell shoes! And there are no shoes!"Thomas's work over the last decade has provided a working appraisal of representations of race and gender in both advertising and the real world. In other works, he simply takes an ad and removes the copy. In his studio, Thomas showed me an image that originally appeared in Ebony magazine in 2005. He had deleted the text and what was left behind was half of a watermelon, with a small scooper sitting next to it. He asked me what I thought it was an ad for. I looked at it for a while and said, perhaps hopefully, "Well, the scooper makes me think it's some Nike Mercurial Superfly V kind of ice cream maybe?""You're looking at the right signifier," Thomas said. "But it's actually for kitty litter." I registered a touch of horror in his voice."At some point down the line I was given this," he told me, pointingto a page in his portfolio. It was a close up photograph of a black man's mouth in the midst of a toothy grin, with a small, gold SUV adorning one of his incisors. "Someone said to me, 'You should do something with this,'" Thomas continued. "I didn't know what to do with it. It's an ad for a 2001 Toyota Rav4. And after four years of looking at it, all I could think of to do with it was this.





He turned a page, and there was a picture of the same mouth, with the gold SUV removed.Thomas's new series is called "Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915 2015." and goes on view this week in New York at Jack Shainman Gallery. For the project, he scoured ads from the last hundred years featuring white Nike Mercurial Superfly V CR7 Champions FG - Red/Gold UK women as their main subject. One for Drummond sweaters from 1959 has copy that actually says, "Men are better than women!" He had in mind the upcoming election, with the country on the verge of very possibly having a female presidential candidate."No one's identity can be summed up by two things like skin color and gender," Thomas said. "But what happens when you do advertising or marketing, you have to do just that: age, gender, skin color, and/or geographical location. Basically what advertising is fueled by is prejudice."He produced another portfolio and walked me through a century's worth of ads, one for each year between 1915 and 2015. He placed the original ad side by side with his altered work, in which he had removed any information that might let on that the images existed to sell a product. For the year after World War I, a woman is cradling a man in uniform, and exposing her long legs.

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