A Century of Black Design Talent Is Brought to the Fore, and Other News – SURFACE

Source Credit:  Content and images from Surface Magazine by .  Read the original article - https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/now-you-see-me-black-design-book/


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(FROM LEFT) Courtesy of Prestel Publishing/Naman Choudhary. Courtesy of Ann Lowe, Ebony Magazine, 1966

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A Century of Black Design Talent Is Brought to the Fore

Ann Lowe, the Black couturier behind Jacqueline Kennedy’s fairytale wedding dress, was once reduced to “a colored woman dressmaker” in an interview with the former First Lady that ran in the Ladies’ Home Journal. A dressmaker of choice to the Rockefellers and DuPonts, she wasn’t even mentioned by name in the story. Who exactly spoke the words remains the subject of debate, but the erasure of Black designers’ contributions to the cultural lexicon taints modern design history. A new book, Now You See Me: An Introduction to 100 Years of Black Design, (Feb. 6, Pestel/Penguin Random House), champions underknown talents across a century of fashion, architecture, and graphic design, and examines the craft of some of the foremost contemporary talents of our time.

Author Charlene Prempeh speaks to the hurdles, triumphs, and historical context of trailblazers like Lowe, who hired an attorney to seek proper attribution from the erstwhile magazine. In the process, she shares the talents of seamstress and costume designer Zelda Wynn Valdes, midcentury architect Paul R. Williams, and Norma Sklarek, the first Black woman to become a member of the AIA. Contemporary interviews with the likes of stylist Law Roach and artist-designer Samuel Ross help the reader dive deeper into Prempeh’s writings about the talents working today. “With unprecedented levels of attention being paid to diversity in creative fields,” Prempeh writes, “debates for the need of representation have expanded—and finally burst—to unveil a new, more vibrant discussion about economic sustainability for Black designers, access to design industries, and support for emerging talent.” —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

“Greenwood Pond-Double Site” in Des Moines, Iowa. Photography by Judith Eastburn, via The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Curators, artists, and advocates are urging the Des Moines Art Center to reconsider its plan to deconstruct Mary Miss’s large-scale installation Greenwood Pond: Double Site, citing concerns about its removal. The museum claims the Land art piece is unsalvageable due to structural decay and that reengineering it would be prohibitively expensive. Detractors, including former museum staff and prominent art-world figures, have objected to its removal, arguing it would result in a major loss to environmental art and Mary Miss’s legacy as an influential figure. 

A man died after falling from the Tate Modern building in London on Friday, Feb. 2. The Metropolitan Police responded to the scene at 10:45 am local time, along with London’s Air Ambulance and London Ambulance Service, but despite their efforts, the man died at the scene. The exact location of the fall and additional details about the incident, including the man’s identity, remain undisclosed. The Tate Modern closed for the rest of the day but reopened on Feb. 3. The incident marks the second fall at the Tate Modern in recent years, following a previous incident in 2019 involving a young boy being thrown from the gallery’s 10th-floor viewing platform, which led to severe injuries and a prison sentence for the perpetrator.

The Whitney Museum viewed from the High Line. Photography by Timothy Schenck.

Hyundai Motor Company has announced a 10-year partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art aimed at providing a platform for artists to experiment and incubate their creativity. Hyundai will support an annual commission located on the museum’s fifth-floor terrace and contribute to the Whitney Biennial. The partnership includes the Hyundai Terrace Commission, an outdoor exhibition project designed to allow artists to realize large-scale installations.The inaugural Hyundai Terrace Commission will launch with this year’s Whitney Biennial.

Dazed Media is launching a social networking app linked to its Dazed Club membership offering, with the app set to debut on Monday. The app aims to connect creatives and allow them to share their work, collaborate with others, and seek opportunities. Users can also join groups, ask questions, and receive advice from industry experts, in addition to accessing event listings and editorial content from Dazed. The app will also feature prominent figures in the creative industry, offering members opportunities to engage with them through events. While the app is free, there is a paid Dazed Clubbers membership option that offers various benefits, including complimentary magazine copies and access to exclusive events and archives.

Brown Girl Jane, a prestige fragrance brand with a focus on mood enhancement and vegan, cruelty-free products, has been awarded a grant by Sephora as part of its commitment to the Fifteen Percent Pledge. The pledge challenges retailers to dedicate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned brands. Sephora, which was the first major retailer to make the pledge, also doubled its assortment of Black-owned brands, reaching the 15 percent benchmark in prestige haircare in 2023. Brown Girl Jane, a graduate of Sephora’s Accelerate brand incubation program, received the grant, which includes both cash and a year-long mentorship program, after beating more than 275 other entrants. The award was presented at a gala by Artemis Patrick, President of Sephora North America, and Danessa Myricks.

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Source Credit:  Content and images from Surface Magazine by .  Read the original article - https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/now-you-see-me-black-design-book/