OU Art Galleries Showcases ‘As, Not For: Dethroning Our Absolutes’

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In honor of Black History Month, the Ohio University Art Galleries, located in Seigfred hall, is featuring an exhibition entitled As, Not For: Dethroning Our Absolutes, curated by Jerome Harris.

“It’s an exhibition of posters curated by Jerome Harris. As a graphic designer, he got his MFA at Yale University, and he recognized that there wasn’t an African American presence in academia, in representation, within graphic design, in the whole art world,” said Ohio University’s Gallery Coordinator and adjunct professor Courtney Kessel. “He started to research the ‘why.’”

According to the exhibition’s gallery guide booklet, As, Not For is “an incomplete historical survey of work created by African American graphic designers over the last century (…) The exhibit seeks to question, inspire, activate, and challenge the design community and beyond with the objective of promoting the deep history, design theory and Aesthetics of African Americans.”

“This [exhibition] is a representation of a number of artists from the 20th century. If you think about graphic design, it’s a service-oriented industry.” Kessel said. “Generally, designers are hired to produce something, while it is their own signature, it’s not necessarily a piece of paper that is signed and dated and sold at auction and that gets exhibited in galleries (…) I think what (Harris) was recognizing was in a lot of the teaching and years he had spent in school, there was a lack of any kind of conversation around that, and he was seeking it out.”

The exhibition will be open to the public through February 22, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. You can find the gallery in Seigfred 536.

On Thursday evenings, the gallery will be hosting special hours where MFA theatre students are co-curating performances to take place in the gallery space.

“From 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., every Thursday during the show, Janai Lashon and Kezia Waters, both MFA students in the School of Theatre, co-curate these performances to happen. Last week was the first one and it was really fun. They’ve been inviting their students within the program or their friends to come and do spoken word, or performance pieces.” Kessel said. “They’re both super talented artists of their own and they do their own pieces also. Hopefully, people feel like they can just float in and out, it’s pretty open. We have music, light snacks, coffee, tea; but people can always check on our Facebook page.”

Find information on the Ohio University Art Galleries on Instagram and Facebook.