This fall, The Studio Museum in Harlem will debut Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, an exhibition exploring the ways contemporary artists use Ebony and Jet magazines as a resource and as inspiration in their practices. Published by Johnson Publishing Company for over sixty years, both magazines are cultural touchstones for many African Americans and often represent a commonality between people of diverse backgrounds. Considering Ebony and Jet from a variety of perspectives—as journalistic material and important documenters of black life, as metaphor for African-American culture and as theoretical spaces for black thought and exchange—the exhibition examines the magazines’ material and cultural legacy as artists perceive them. While much of the work in the exhibition utilizes Ebony and Jet imagery and text as source material, for some, the concept of these iconic publications and their institutional histories provides the starting point for artistic production. As popular, widely- circulated print publications, the magazines ushered in a particular phenomenon of collection and display in black domestic spaces. Somewhat analogously, many of the artists included in Speaking of People maintain their own personal archives of these iconic publications.
Artists: Noel Anderson, Jeremy Okai Davis, Godfried Donkor, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Lyle Ashton Harris, David Hartt, Leslie Hewitt, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Ayanah Moor, Lorna Simpson, Martine Syms, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Purvis Young
Venue: Studio Museum Harlem, New York
Exhibition Title: Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art
Curated by: Lauren Haynes
Date: November 13, 2014 – March 8, 2015
Photography: Adam Reich.
Text (press release) and images, provided by the event.
© Studio Museum Harlem.