An Anthem to Afro-American Identity at the Exhibition Black Image Corp

An Anthem to Afro-American Identity at the Exhibition Black Image Corp
#Exhibitions

The anthem to women sung by Theaster Gates resounds in the spaces of the Osservatorio Prada among large format photographs showing actresses and models, offering an attentive view of the Afro-American social elite, as well as themes ranging from politics to sport, sexuality to beauty. The choral exhibition conceived by the American artist for the spaces of the Fondazione Prada - Osservatorio focuses on the photographic works of Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton who captured some iconic moments of feminine identity, offering, at the same time, with their rapid incursions into the lives of ordinary people, a series of never-before-seen images rummaged out of the archives of the Johnson Publishing Company. This is a collection of over four-million images that explore the themes of black feminine beauty and power, contributing to the definition of the cultural-aesthetic codes of contemporary Afro-American identity. Founded by John H. Johnson in 1942, the publishing house of the same name produced the monthly magazine Ebony and the weekly Jet, two essential publications for the Afro-American community of the United States, aimed at celebrating the positive aspects of daily life while portraying the complex realities facing the Afro-American population after World War II. On the first floor of the Osservatorio, the artist presents the original elements of furnishings and design created by Arthur Elrod for the offices of the Johnson Publishing Company, with its headquarters in downtown Chicago. The headquarters of the publishing house, known as the Ebony/Jet Building, is part of the city’s architectural heritage. Within this area of the exhibition, visitors can thumb through original copies of Ebony and Jet, while a video created by Gates which can be seen in the exhibition as well, documents the real architectural spaces that hosted the offices themselves.
Samantha De Martin - © 2018 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Milano