'African-American Designers in Chicago' is an important corrective to art history


The new Cultural Center exhibit shows how much design innovation came from black artists in Chicago.

African-American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race” at the Chicago Cultural Center is a show that serves as a much-needed corrective to design history: it covers a century’s worth of fine art, commercial, and industrial design by black creators in Chicago, some of whom first came here during the Great Migration. Most importantly, it’s a pure visual delight, offering a wide selection of breathtaking art from the early 20th century to the 1980s: sketches, paintings, blueprints, book jackets, album covers, beauty product packaging, a diorama that depicts the death of Crispus Attucks, World War II-era posters for war bonds, ads that also function as text-only conceptual art, and vintage Ebony, Jet, and Negro Digest magazines.…

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