“The Black Image Corporation”

A forthcoming exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau will feature selected works of the photographers Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton

April 11th, 2019
K. Wiesner, News from Berlin
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From April 25 to July 28, 2019, the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin Mitte will display “The Black Image Corporation”, an exhibition created by the American conceptual artist Theaster Gates, which features works by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton.

The photographers Sleet Jr. and Sutton both worked for the Johnson Publishing Company. The publishing house contributed to a deeper engagement with Black culture by portraying the aesthetical and cultural language of Afro-American identity. It published two magazines, “Ebony” and “Jet”, which reported on significant achievements within the Black community, but also traced the realities of many Black Americans living in the U.S. during the postwar era.

The archives of the Johnson Publishing Company encompass around four million photographs. These shown at the exhibition focus on the works of Sleet Jr. and Sutton. The 112 photographs selected by Gates mainly display Black women, actors, and models, but also reveal the backsides of many photographs that offer information on the time and place the photo was taken as well as on the photographer. Most of the works have never been publicly presented before.

According to Gates, the photographs depict beauty and Black Female Power. They create iconic female moments and illustrate the realities faced by the people they portray.

The exhibition “The Black Image Corporation” will run from April 25 to July 28, 2019 at Martin-Gropius-Bau. Tickets cost 15€, reduced 10€.


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