Pictures at an Exhibition

‘The Black Image Corporation, a Project by Theaster Gates’ at Fondazione Prada, Milan

A 1969 photograph by Moneta Sleet Jr. for the Johnson Publishing Company, in “The Black Image Corporation, a project by Theaster Gates,” 2018–19, at Fondazione Prada Osservatorio, Milan.

©MONETA SLEET JR./COURTESY JOHNSON PUBLISHING COMPANY, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Pictures at an Exhibition presents images of one notable show every weekday.

Today’s show: “The Black Image Corporation, a project by Theaster Gates” is on view at the Fondazione Prada Osservatorio in Milan through Monday, January 14, 2019. The exhibition brings together works by two photographers, Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, culled from the archives the Johnson Publishing Company, which launched Ebony magazine in 1945 and the now defunct Jet magazine in 1951. Sleet, who was the first African-American man to win the Pulitzer Prize, worked for Ebony for 41 years beginning in 1951, and Sutton worked for JPC for 42 years, first as a staff photographer and then as chief photographer for the West Coast bureau beginning in 1971.

In a release, Gates said of the impetus for the exhibition:

For this show, I hope to tease out the creation of female iconic moments by Sleet and Sutton and also offer small forays into the lives of everyday people through never-before-seen images from the Johnson Collection. The archives speak about beauty and black female power. Today it seems to me a good time to dig into the visual lexicon of the American book and show images that are rarely seen outside of my community. I wanted to celebrate women of all kinds and especially black women.

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