Nov 2nd 2018

The Designs of African American Life Symposium

@ Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Opening Friday, November 2nd, from 5PM - 8:30PM

On view through Saturday, November 3rd

Marking the opening of “African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce, and the Politics of Race,” ( this symposium gathers scholars and design practitioners who address all aspects of design in African American life. While the exhibition celebrates the works of Chicago-based graphic artists in fields ranging from sign-painting to doll-making, the symposium goes beyond Chicago and beyond the graphic arts in order to take stock of current work in the field and to explore new directions for research and practice. As they advance new narratives and methodologies that grasp the history of African American design, speakers illuminate critical problems at the intersection of art, politics, and everyday life.

Friday, November 2
5–6:30pm: Opening Keynote Address “Common Things Surprise Us: Black Chicago’s Artists and Models Balls and the Politics of Middlebrow(n) Taste” by Jacqueline Goldsby, Yale University

6:30–8:30pm: Opening Reception for “African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce, and the Politics of Race” and “Keep Moving: Designing Chicago’s Bicycle Culture”

Saturday, November 3
9:30–10:30am: “Print and Power” with Brenna Greer, Wellesley College, and Joshua Clark Davis, University of Baltimore and chaired by Amy Mooney, Columbia College
10:45–11:45am: “Commerce and Community” with Jason Chambers, University of Illinois, and Kinohi Nishikawa, Princeton University and chaired by Korey Garibaldi, University of Notre Dame
1–2pm: “Aesthetics and Being” with Elspeth Brown, University of Toronto, and Romi Crawford, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and chaired by Nadia Field, University of Chicago
2:15–3:15pm: “Canons and Archives” with Michelle Millar Fisher, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Smithsonian Institution and chaired by Bess Williamson, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
3:30–4:30pm: Closing Keynote “Craft/Freedom: Regarding the Value(s) of African American Design” by Adam Green, University of Chicago

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