Stray Light presents various views of the former offices of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, famous for producing Jet and Ebony magazines, which defined African American culture in the postwar era. Designed by architect John Moutoussamy, a student of Mies Van Der Rohe, the Johnson Publishing building was erected in 1971, the first skyscraper in Chicago owned and designed by African Americans. Hartt’s work, shot in the muted atmosphere immediately prior to the 2011 sale of the building, prompts consideration of the decline of the publishing industry. It also illuminates the manner in which racial pride and identity is expressed through the style of Arthur Elrod’s distinctive interior design and the personal effects in the employees’ workspaces.
Hartt lives and works in Philadelphia. His work has been widely exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions. He is the recipient of a United States Artists Cruz Fellowship and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award.
RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.