The Black Image Corporation
25 April to 28 July 2019
Starting on 25 April 2019, the Gropius Bau presents the exhibition The Black Image Corporation, conceived by Theaster Gates. The project explores the fundamental legacy of Johnson Publishing Company archives, which feature more than 4 million images and have contributed to shape the aesthetic and cultural languages of the contemporary African American identity. The exhibition presents the works of two photographers: Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, whose powerful visual language focuses on beauty and Black Female Power. Founded by John H. Johnson in 1942, his eponymous publishing company created two landmark publications for black American audiences: the monthly magazine Ebony and its weekly sister outlet Jet, whose publication was respectively initiated in 1945 and in 1951. The magazines quickly became two of the major platforms for the representation and discussion of black culture, covering a broad range of events and personalities from historic milestones such as the March on Washington in 1963 and the first African-American astronaut to sports icons and show business celebrities. This wide collection of images helps to illuminate the richness of African American professional codes, modes of dress, social structures, domestic lives and forms of beauty and glamour. The exhibition, conceived by Theaster Gates, will feature photos of Black Women from the archives, celebrating their uniqueness and beauty and reflecting the time they lived in.