David Hartt: Stray Light
David Hartt. Award Room.
David Hartt has been working with photographs for many years, attracted to the social, cultural, political, and economic complexities of the subjects he captures and rendering them with a cool, dispassionate eye. Stray Light includes a film displayed in a room that has been carpeted in the style of his subject, the 1971 Johnson Publishing Company building in Chicago, as well as a group of four photographs in an adjacent room in the North Galleries. The building was purpose-built as the headquarters of this important Black-owned publishing company, made famous by its Jet and Ebony magazine titles as well as by its role as a leading arbiter of African American taste and culture during the latter half of the twentieth century. Hartt’s work raises questions about the commingling of the personal and the public, and highlights the narratives and ideologies that underlie the Johnson firm while assessing their lasting impact on today’s society.