Black History Month

W. E. B. Du Bois: Recharting Modern Design
At the Paris World Fair of 1900, W. E. B. Du Bois used groundbreaking statistical graphics to document the accomplishments of Black Americans and life inside “the Veil” of systemic oppression. In Fall 2022, the Library of Congress will lend a selection of these rare data visualizations to Cooper Hewitt’s Deconstructing Power: W. E. B....
The front and back covers of a book are shown. A collage of black-and-white photographs completely bleeds off all sides of the two covers. The cut-and-pasted photographs depict Black people of different ages, some with natural Afro hair styles. The title “RE:CREATION” and the author’s name are typeset in red Futura caps. One figure is highlighted with red ink, printed transparently over the black photograph. An outdoor sign for Jackson State College appears on the back cover.
Broadside Press and Black Graphic Design
Broadside: A single sheet of paper printed on one side only. For centuries, broadsides were a popular ephemeral format for distributing news, announcements, advertisements, or commentary in the form of ballads.  Between 1966 and 1975, Broadside Press in Detroit, Michigan published 81 books and dozens of poetry broadsides written and designed by Black writers and...
Image features a cuff bracelet of roughly circular form composed of two intertwined curved strands of silver containing a central irregular triangular panel. The silver surface has passages of dark patination. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Art in Metal: The Modernist Jewelry of Greenwich Village’s Art Smith
From the archives, an Object of the Day post on the jewelry of Art Smith, one of the designers featured in Jewelry of Ideas.
Poster for Spike Lee film, Malcolm X. Features a large grey X on a black background with [November] in small white letters at bottom. Includes a thin grey border.
A Radical ‘X’
Author: Jerome Harris Spike Lee’s 1992 classic film, Malcolm X, depicts the life and impact of the radical African-American activist. The poster for the movie was designed by Art Sims, who had previously created the artwork for Mo’ Better Blues (1990) and Jungle Fever (1991), two other Spike Lee joints. Past works by Sims display...
Drawing, Concept Car, ca. 1935; Designed by William McBride (American, 1912 - 2000); brush and gouache, pen and ink on illustration board; 16.5 × 54.6 cm (6 1/2 × 21 1/2 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-14
A Stylist Ahead of His Time
In the early 1930s, the General Motors Art and Colour division was emerging as the most innovative hub of automotive stylists. William McBride was a young man living in Chicago’s South Side, dreaming of fanciful and futuristic cars. As a boy, he “spent sixteen years learning how to design automobiles, to make them real. Cars...
When the Artisanal & Industrial Collide
New York-based designer Stephen Burks is known internationally for his innovative synthesis of industrial manufacturing and hand-made craft traditions.[1] He has collaborated and consulted with numerous high-profile international design brands and manufacturers, including Cappellini, Dedon, Ligne Roset, Missoni, Roche Bobois, and Swarovski, among others. Through Aid To Artisans, Burks has also partnered with craftspeople in...
The Middle Passage Brooch
Born in the Bronx, Phyllis Bowdwin is an activist, writer, educator, mixed-media artist, and designer. Inspired by her African ancestry, Bowdwin made this brooch that depicts in diagrammatic form the hull of a slave ship and the arrangement of its tightly packed human cargo during the Middle Passage. In this version, five heads of African...