June 27 – September 6, 2020
In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite used photography to popularize the political slogan “Black Is Beautiful.” This exhibition—the first ever dedicated to Brathwaite’s remarkable career—tells the story of a key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance.
Inspired by the writings of activist and Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, Brathwaite and his older brother, Elombe Brath, founded the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios (AJASS) and the Grandassa Models, a modeling agency for Black women.
This exhibition returns us to the Naturally fashion shows of the 1960s walked by Grandassa models and produced by the African American artists, designers, musicians, hairdressers, writers, and jazz lovers of AJASS.
Images have power, and this is an important example of a creative collective formed in order to radically shift the dominant narrative at midcentury.
Exhibition organized by Aperture, New York and Kwame S. Brathwaite.
Kwame Brathwaite, Photo shoot at a public school for one of the AJASS-associated modeling groups that emulated the Grandassa Models and began
to embrace natural hairstyles. Harlem, ca. 1966; from Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, 2019) © Kwame Brathwaite. Courtesy the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles.
13 / July
Monday, July 13 – Friday, July 17 | 9:00 a.m. – NoonSummer Camp: Ages 10 – 12 From drafting to crafting, campers learn all about fashion design as they create and update their own wearable art inspired by work in the museum, including wearable fashions featured in the Black Is Beautiful and Design by Time exhibitions. The week culminates with a fashion show in the galleries.
Luther and Judy Battiste; Dr. and Mrs. Allen J. Coles, III
Leslie and Jeff Archie; Benedict College; Barbara B. Boyd; Julie and Mike Brenan; The Columbia (SC) Chapter, The Links. Inc; Ben and Jerry Dell Gimarc; Jane and David Kulbersh; Midlands Medical Wellness Center, LLC; Michel G. Moore; Brandolyn and Jerome Pinkston; Bill Schmidt; Isvara Wilson