Studio Museum in Harlem presents Speaking of People: Ebony , Jet and Contemporary Art

Studio Museum HarlemThe Studio Museum in Harlem will debut its exhibition Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art on November 13, 2014. The new exhibition is said to explore the ways contemporary artists use Ebony and Jet magazines as a resource and as inspiration in their practices. It will run through March 8, 2015.

According to the Studio Museum of Harlem, Speaking of People will feature over thirty works by a multi-generational, interdisciplinary group of sixteen artists and includes photography, painting, sculpture and sound works that will occupy the Museum’s Main galleries and Project Space. Artists in the exhibition include 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 and Purvis Young.

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.