For immediate release: Wednesday, September 10, 2019
Contact: Kerry Morgan, director of gallery and exhibition programs, [email protected], 612.874.3667
As, Not For: Dethroning Our Absolutes
Curated by Jerome Harris
October 18–November 10, 2019
Jerome Harris Visiting Artist Talk: Friday, October 18, Auditorium 150
Minneapolis, MN—The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), in conjunction with the Hennepin Theatre Trust, is pleased to host As, Not For: Dethroning Our Absolutes, an exhibition curated by Jerome Harris. Conceived of as an “incomplete historical survey of work created by African-American graphic designers over the last century,” the exhibition highlights select designers who utilize modernist and Bauhausian methods or more intuitive techniques to create work that ranges from commercially accessible design to avant-garde graphic experimentation. These practitioners are absent in too many classroom lectures and their methods go mostly invisible or uncredited in the field. This exhibition aims to promote the inclusion of neglected Black practitioners and their developed methodologies and to challenge the practitioners and their developed methodologies and to challenge the ubiquity of White and anti-Black aesthetics in our designed world.
MCAD Gallery will be hosting half of the more than forty posters in the exhibition, the other half will be on view concurrently in the Hennepin Theatre District at 800 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis.
Harris will be giving a talk about the exhibition and his own graphic design practice on Friday, October 18 at 1:00 p.m. that is open to the general public. He will be working with MCAD students on a zine workshop on Saturday, October 19 and the students will be installing the exhibition on Saturday afternoon.
About the curator:
Jerome Harris is a graphic designer originally from New Haven, Connecticut, currently based in Brooklyn, New York. He holds an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and a BA from Temple University. Harris is the Design Director of Housing Works, a non-profit organization fighting the dual crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness in New York City. His touring exhibition, As, Not For, has been highlighted on Afropunk, AIGA Eye on Design, and Cooper Hewitt, and reviewed in Bmore Art, Creative Review, and Dexigner. Harris DJs under the moniker DJ Glen Coco, and maintains an ongoing choreographic practice that he shares on Instagram at @32counts. www.jwhgd.co
This exhibition takes cues from two sources. The first is an obscure multidisciplinary exhibition titled Ritual: Baptismal in Black, The Ritual of The Black Aesthetic, held in Ann Arbor Michigan at the Academy of Creative Thought in 1977. Ritual confronted patrons with the questions, “Can your faculty/staff/students each name five nationally or internationally active Black artists?” and “Do your major art books include the work of major Black artists?” The second source is The New Negro by Alain Locke, which argued that the responsibility of African-American artists was to speak from their point of view in order to reveal personal truths; to speak as Black individuals and not for Black people. Locke envisions a new Black artistic consciousness, one that does not seek to represent or translate their race for the masses, but instead strives for a deeper expression of unique Black subjectivities, in which race “is but an idiom of experience.”
Inspired by these two perspectives on Black artistic production, As, Not For interrogates the institutional exclusion and historical omission of Black graphic design and the implications of that excluded status on Black expressive practice in graphic design and on graphic design as a whole. The exhibited works are printed ephemera, all of which are authentic representations of Black culture in the time that they were created. Each work is reproduced and uniformly scaled—in solidarity—to 24 × 36 in. The exhibit seeks to question, inspire, activate, and challenge the design community and beyond with the objective of promoting the deep history, design theory and aesthetics of African-Americans.
MCAD Gallery Hours:
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m.
Events and exhibitions are always free and open to the public. For more information or any disability accommodations, please contact Kerry Morgan, director of gallery and exhibition programs, at 612.874.3667 or [email protected].