As, Not For
November 2020
Faye G., Jo and James Stone Gallery at Boston University

As, Not For: Dethroning our Absolutes is a traveling exhibition curated by Jerome Harris. As, Not For features prominent African American graphic designers’ work from 1899–2000 traditionally absent in design history/classrooms, in order to repudiate pedagogy normalizing Eurocentric/White-dominated aesthetic.

This fall, I collaborated with Graphic Design faculty Mary Yang and a team of BFA Graphic Design peers (Angela Lian, Ashlie Dawkins & Gabbi Ferrari) to conceptualize and design the 18th iteration of As, Not For, on display from November 4, 2020–February 19, 2021 in the Stone Gallery at Boston University.

The exhibition title speaks to the empowering act for African Americans to express a personal experience as themselves, not for a general swath of people. The curatorial research of As, Not For serves to criticize the paradigms of the design world in who we are celebrating, who we are overlooking, and who we are inspired by.

It was crucial to us as students planning the exhibition to devise a reflection space for inquiry and rumination. The list of questions for listening, learning and responding, can be found on this document, where Mary’s sophomore graphic design class responded.
Through As, Not For, I practiced phases of exhibition planning and design, including strategizing concept and layout, prototyping and testing against curatorial vision, and installing environmental graphics. I also had the honor of introducing the curator Jerome Harris at Boston University School of Visual Arts’ Tuesday Night Fall 2020 Lecture Series with my team, and gave an student-led lecture, open to BU graphic design students, about our prototyping and testing process.

Work featured in the show made by: Buddy Esquire, Phase 2, Emory Douglas, Archie Boston, Grafton Tyler Brown, Emmett McBain, Eugene Winslow, LeRoy Winbush, Reginald Gammon, Art Sims, W.E.B. DuBois, Pen & Pixel, Laini (Sylvia) Abernathy, Sun Ra, Cey Adams

*Some of the designers/arists extending beyond the show (special thank you to Jerome for providing the list):

Georg Olden, Sylvia Harris, Alex Walker, Fitzhugh Dinkins, Herbert Temple, Norman Hunter, Tom Miller, Ed Towles, Evan Gaffney, Gail Anderson, Leo Dillon, Michele Washington, Charles White, Timothy Jackson, Lois M. Jones (book covers in particular), Archie Boston (has an archive at Duke Univ.), Arthur Logan, Sylvia Abernathy (her “In Our Terribleness” book design is EXCELLENT)

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