October 01, 2018

The Black Image Corporation, new exhibition from the Prada Foundation

The exhibition explores the asthetics of the African American women of the 40s and 50s

The Prada Foundation premiered on September 20, on the
occasion of Milan Fashion Week, its new exhibition, “The Black Image
Corporation.” The exhibition explores the legacy of the publishing house
Johnson Publishing Company, a company that sponsored the US publications, Ebony
and Jet, reference headers of the African-American female community. The
exhibition aims to investigate the influence that these magazines had on the
creation of the aesthetics of the black population in the US, especially during
the 40s and 50s, and how developed the alongside the civil rights movements.

The images on display show an aesthetic and a visual lexicon
many times forgotten, in which celebrities from the world of music, film,
sports or politics converge with shots of normal women and their everyday
lives. The exhibition, conceived by Theaster Gates, includes the work of two
referent photographers of the time, Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton. Gates
has created an interactive exhibition, in which visitors can explore the
extensive archive of Johnson Publishing Company, choosing the photos they want
and making them visible to other visitors. In addition, the first floor recreates
the offices of the publishing house in Chicago, known as “Building Ebony /

“The archives speak about beauty and black female
power. Today it seems to me a good time to dig into the visual lexicon of the
American book and show images that are rarely seen outside of my community. I
wanted to celebrate women of all kinds and especially black women”, explained

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