An exhibit opening in Chicago this summer will highlight the Johnson Publishing Company’s presence in African-American publishing for the past 75 years.
Theaster Gates, who founded the Rebuild Foundation, an organization that promotes Black art and artists while promoting community development, will launch A Johnson Publishing Story. The exhibit, part of Art Design Chicago’s yearlong celebration of the city’s art and design history, will look at the role the company has played in defining Black culture for global audiences in the 20th century.
“A Johnson Publishing Story is a turning point for the Stony Island Arts Bank [where the exhibit will be showcased]. It is part of our deep belief in the objects and histories of African-American material culture and our stories,” Gates told the Chicago Crusader.
The company behind the iconic EBONY and JET magazines donated over 15,000 pieces to Rebuild Foundation for the exhibit. The archive will include books, paintings, sculptures and furnishings that were housed at the headquarters in downtown Chicago.
“Johnson Publishing Company’s impact on American culture is vast,” Amy Zinck, executive vice president of the Terra Foundation for American Art, told the Crusader. “Theaster Gates and the team at Rebuild Foundation are uniquely positioned to illuminate the creative legacy of Johnson Publishing Company. From the start, the cultural coverage, photography and aesthetics of the publications provided a global presence for Chicago artists and designers.”
The exhibit will run June 28 through Sept. 30 at the Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.