Wow! The exhibits at the Studio Museum of Harlem located in Manhattan, New York were unique! The exhibition “Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet, and Contemporary Art” focuses on pieces by artists who inspired by various articles in the Ebony and Jet magazines.
The Studio Museum of Harlem has three floors. It is spacious with a high ceiling, tall white walls and tanned brown wooden floors. On the main floor, there was a collage of art that features pages in the magazines. In the picture, there were sketches of various types of African American hair, from the kinky afro to the soft and curly. Some of the women had black or pink hair. Creative is the best way to describe this exhibit.
Additional pieces on the main floor included large exhibits of the Ebony Magazine and the Jet Magazine’s logos. There was a five-minute video that played on a loop about a dark-skinned woman’s hair and skin care regime. The primary message of the video was to be comfortable in your skin and to promote the message that “Black is beautiful.” Underneath the video display, was a glass showcase that had a variety of cosmetic products that catered to African American women.
After looking around, I continued on upstairs. There awaited abstract exhibits by “Kinja Strobert: Of this Day and Time.” The colorful pieces created with a combination of materials such as graphite, pumice, ink, acrylic, and enamel on paper. Some of the exhibits hung on top of either white or dark teal colored walls. The backdrop coordinated with the theme of the artwork.
“Titus Kapar: The Jerome Project” was also featured on the upstairs level. His pieces evolved around showcasing various faces of imprisoned African American men. The tar that covered their faces represented the number of years each man spent in jail. Although the thought-provoking images were for an era of the 18th-19th Century, it resembles the Criminal Justice System of today.
After checking out the exhibits, I proceeded downstairs to see the final display. As I entered into the room I was surprised. On the walls hung all of the African American women who were featured in the Jet Magazine Swim Suit section. Not only were they all beautiful but the women had successful careers.
This aspect instantly brought back memories of me as a young girl, when I used to read the magazine and hope that one day I could be featured on it too. The exhibit was surprising because all of their photos covered every inch of the wall. I couldn’t help but wonder how many professional opportunities were available for them after they featured in Jet Magazine. It must have been a ton!
The Jet Magazine Exhibition concluded my day at the Studio Museum of Harlem! Once again the exhibits were artistic, unique and it was worth gaining this experience.
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