The Art of Our Storytellers: Selections from the Johnson Publishing Company Collection

In 1972, 820 South Michigan Avenue became the address of the iconic building constructed for the Johnson Publishing Company , publishers of EBONY and JET magazines. The high-rise was designed by John Moutoussamy, with interior design by Arthur Elrod and William Raiser. It was the first African American -owned building in Chicago’s downtown area. It remains the only Chicago high-rise to be designed by an African American.

Johnson Publishing Company told the story of African American life throughout the pages of its publications, and so did its vivid art collection. The headquarters building showcased over 150 works of art representing a diverse range of African American artists along with an extensive collection of African art. Sculptures, paintings, drawings, lithographs and prints graced the halls, offices and common areas of the corporation’s new building. The collection held some of the leading names in contemporary and historical art at the time, but also featured emerging and intuitive self-taught artists from various regions of the United States.

The collection included significant figurative and abstract painters while embracing politically and socially conscious artists and centered artistic collectives that promoted an African centered point of view while highlighting the African American experience.

This exhibition features a selection of the Johnson Publishing Company art collection, generously donated to the DuSable Museum’s permanent collection by Desiree Rogers.

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