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Hank Willis Thomas at MetroTech Commons


Hank Willis Thomas and Public Art Fund curator Andria Hickey


The Truth and Nothing But the Truth
: Hank Willis Thomas at MetroTech Commons


Since its first appearance at the Galway Arts Festival in Ireland in 2011, the Cause Collective’s traveling art project In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth) has been exhibited in Afghanistan, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, at Burning Man, in South Africa, and at Art Basel Miami Beach, and it’s racked up more than 5,000 videos of people telling what the truth means to them.

Now this bouncy-castle-turned-confessional, that’s been made to look like a giant cartoon bubble with the word “Truth” posted on it, is making its way around Brooklyn as part of Hank Willis Thomas’s Public Art Fund exhibition “The Truth Is I See You” at MetroTech Commons.

When I interviewed Thomas for the New York Observer in Miami last December he said, “People have talked about failed relationships, about love, and family. They’ve talked about the notion of the truth, about dishonesty, about what’s happening to them right now, politics. The truth is ageless and timeless. The youngest participant is three years old and the oldest ones are probably in their 80s. They’re speaking about the same thing from their perspective and no one can take that away from them. That’s what I like about it. You’re right no matter what you say, if you tell the truth.“

While the Truth Booth was at MetroTech on the opening day of the show and will appear at other Brooklyn locations throughout the run of the exhibition, new works by Thomas and his Cause Collective collaborator Ryan Alexiev continue to take center stage on the commons. Twenty-two “truth bubbles,” that simulate speech bubbles from comic books and graphic novels, have been installed as signs on the light posts along MetroTech’s Myrtle Promenade. Lines from Thomas and Alexiev’s Truth Poem, such as “The truth is I fear you” and “The truth is I judge you,” are written on one side of the signs in English and on the other side in one of the myriad languages spoken across Brooklyn.  

Two steel benches in the shape of thought balloons and a fabricated metal tree with puffed up truth bubbles at the end of the branches that ask “The truth is I love you?” complete this thought provoking exhibition. 

The Truth Is I See You is on view at MetroTech Commons in Brooklyn through June 3, 2016.

Scroll through the photos below to see some of the art world players who came out for the August 4 opening. WM

Art critic and Instagrammer Robin Cembalest, Forest City Ratner Companies COO David Berliner
and Mad. Sq. Art curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport

Art advisor Katie Howard and her Instagramming dog Miss Pickle

Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume and collector and art advisor Sue Stoffel

Isolde Brielmaier, director of the Contemporary Art Initiative at Westfield World Trade Center
and independent curator and Columbia University professor Kellie Jones

Sutton PR publicists Jen Mora and Madeline Woods

Artist Jose Parla and School of Visual Arts publicist Folake Ologunja

Artist Teresita Fernandez and Kimberly Drew, Associate Online Community Producer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Art critics David Colman and William Simmons with Visionaire publisher Cecilia Dean and Colman's dog Gogo

Writer Antwaun Sargent and the Met's Kimberly Drew

Photographer, curator and photographic historian Deborah Willis and Metropolitan Museum of Art education chairman Sandra Jackson-Dumont

Instagrammers Gabriela Jimenez, Stephanie Strasnick, Rebecca Taylor, Susi Kenna and Armani Smith

Artist Chloë Bass, NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl and Brooklyn Museum curator Eugenie Tsai



Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.



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