Founded in 1942, Johnson Publishing in Chicago told the lives of black Americans for more than seven decades through the Ebony and Jet magazines. The work of Gates, probably composed of the most important Black American visual culture archive in the 20th century , recontextualizes and makes these images and their stories visible again. The presentation of this new body of works is taken from the Black Madonna exhibition by Gates at the Basel Kunstmuseum in 2018, part of his larger project of Black Image Corporation. As Gates says, " The Black Image Corporation" concerns the projection of images in the world.The work invites visitors to engage directly with these rich and varied representations depicting women in their daily lives, historical moments and studio poses.
Presented in collaboration with the Lunder Institute for American Art , Facsimile Cabinet of Women Origin Stories will also inspire new research and creative production at the Lunder Institute, visiting scholars and artists interested in exploring the image of Black. During the exhibition, local, national and international guests from a wide range of disciplines (including archivists, legal scholars, anthropologists and librarians, but also visual artists, directors, writers and art historians) will be invited to spend some time with the piece and reflect on its meaning through the lens of their particular area of expertise. The Lunder Institute will make the work resulting from these meetings available through a series of digital and printed publications.