LOVE OVER RULES | Hank Willis Thomas Artist Talk and Public Art Launch

Thursday, November 9, 2017 6:00PM

LOVE OVER RULES | Hank Willis Thomas Artist Talk and Public Art Launch
Tickets are Sold Out


Thursday, November 9:

  • 6:00PM: Artist talk by Hank Willis Thomas

  • 7:00PM: Remarks by Willie Brown

  • 7:15PM: First illumination of the artwork


    Sites Unseen is pleased to announce the unveiling of Love Over Rules, New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas’s first permanent public artwork in the United States. The large-scale animated text-based neon artwork is Sites Unseen’s third public art project and will be installed on the exterior wall of a private building above Annie Street, an alley close to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the downtown Yerba Buena neighborhood

    On Thursday, November 9, the artwork will be illuminated for the first time following a public artist talk at the California Historical Society. Thomas, who graduated from the California College of the Arts’ MFA program in 2004, has deep ties to the city and local culture.

    “I grew up in a family where love overruled,” said Thomas. “My cousin, Songha Willis, was murdered in Philadelphia in 2000. A month after he died, I found a recording of the incident, and his last words were ‘love over rules.’ It is especially meaningful for me to present this work in collaboration with Sites Unseen and the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District because my first outdoor public installation was in the Yerba Buena neighborhood over a decade ago.”

    Starting at 6PM, Thomas will give a presentation about this project and his practice at a free public talk at the California Historical Society, located at 678 Mission Street, adjacent to the installation. AT 7PM, the public is invited to join Thomas in Annie Street for remarks by former SF Mayor Willie Brown and the inaugural illumination of the artwork.

    “We are very excited to be working with Hank to produce an artwork that resonates so deeply for so many, especially at this particularly tumultuous time in history,” said Jessica Shaefer, Sites Unseen project director. “The message Love Over Rules is one that we encourage audiences to take to heart and share widely. Our hope is that Hank’s piece will serve as a beacon in the Yerba Buena neighborhood, sending a powerful message to residents, workers, and visitors alike.”

    “We are presenting the work during the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love, at a time when the world needs a strong reminder that loves overrules all else,” said Dorka Keehn, Sites Unseen co-founder and San Francisco Arts Commissioner.


    Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), and For Freedoms, the first artist-run super PAC. Thomas received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and a MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas lives and works in New York City.

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