• Black Designers in Chicago
    Chris Dingwall, David Hartt, and Daniel Schulman
    Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, Romi Crawford, Jacqueline Goldsby, Adam Green, Brenna Greer, Kinohi Nishikawa, Robert E. Paige, and Norman Teague
    University of Chicago Press, 2023
    Chris Dingwall, David Hartt & Daniel Schulman

Charles Harrison, “Portable Phonograph,” 1975. Sketch. Charles Harrison Design Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

This book tells the history of Black designers in Chicago for the social worlds they worked in and helped to build during the twentieth century. Through a combination of narrative history, short essays, reminiscence, and sumptuous reproductions of original design work, the book at once foregrounds design in African American cultural history and centers African Americans in the history of American design. In Chicago, these histories were deeply intertwined. Engaging with contemporary design philosophies and institutions to suit their individual and collective ambitions, designers in the Black Metropolis created practices that were grounded in the social life of the city and connected to international circuits of the African diaspora and the mass consumer economy. While showcasing their legacy of beautiful and daring work, the book shares their critical design thinking on race, capitalism, and cultural production.

Chris Dingwall is a special lecturer at Oakland University and managing editor of Design and Culture. He earned his doctorate in American history from the University of Chicago and was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute in the University of Toronto. He cocurated African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce, and the Politics of Race, an exhibition held at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2018, which forms the basis for this book project. His writing on cultural history and contemporary art and design has appeared in Archives of American Art, American Art, AIGA's Eye on Design, and The Gagosian Quarterly. He is currently completing Selling Slavery: Race and the Industry of American Culture for Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).

David Hartt is the associate professor of fine arts in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a master’s of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bacherlor’s from the department of visual arts at the University of Ottawa. He has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Ox-Bow School of Art, and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. His exhibition Stray Light originating with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. A catalogue for Stray Light was published by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2013), and was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation. Hartt was exhibition designer of African American Designers in Chicago and is a contributing author and coeditor of the project.

Daniel Schulman is director of the Visual Art Program for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, where he also directed the city’s Public Art Program from 2012 to 2018. Educated at Columbia University in New York and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, he has taught, lectured, and written widely on African American art. He has coordinated or curated scores of exhibitions on modern and contemporary art, including A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund (Spertus Museum/Northwestern University Press, 2009), and, for the Chicago Cultural Center, Richard Hunt: Sixty Years of Sculpture (2014), Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College (2017), and African American Designers in Chicago (2018).