Fondazione Prada Osservatorio – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan – Until 14 January 2019
The project explores the fundamental legacy of content in the archives of Johnson Publishing Company, a collection of over four million images that have contributed to set the aesthetic-cultural codes of contemporary Afro-American identity.
For Fondazione Prada Osservatorio, Theaster Gates has formulated a choral, participatory exhibition on the work of two photographers: Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton. The images of Sleet and Sutton, which offer a panorama on the Afro-American social elite and a glossy chronicle of themes like politics, self-help, sports, beauty and sexuality, are placed inside a structure created by Gates for the second floor of the Osservatorio.
Most of the frames contain portraits of women, actresses and models, while others show the backs of photographs with notes on place, date and photographer. The audience is encouraged to freely explore this vast visual archive, removing the frames from the structure to observe the single images, or placing them outside it to make the pictures visible to other visitors.