Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite
February 5, 2022 — May 8, 2022
Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing Gallery
Throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite used his photography to popularize the transformative idea that “Black is Beautiful.” This exhibition—the first dedicated to Brathwaite’s remarkable career—tells the story of a central figure of the second-wave Harlem Renaissance. In addition to his work in photography, Brathwaite co-founded two key organizations: the African Jazz-Art Society and Studios (AJASS), a collective of artists, playwrights, designers, and dancers, and the Grandassa Models—the subject of much of this exhibition’s contents—a creative collective of Black women, founded to challenge white beauty standards.
Exhibition organized by Aperture Foundation, New York and Kwame S. Brathwaite. The exhibition Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite and the accompanying Aperture publication, are made possible, in part, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles.
APRIL 9 · 9:30 AM-4:30 PM
APRIL 28 · 11 AM
An Artist’s View: Photography with Owens Daniels
$8 not-yet-members (includes Museum admission), $5 Museum members
In connection with the Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite exhibition, this playlist includes personal favorites of the iconic photographer alongside songs selected by Kwame S. Brathwaite, his son and director of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive.
Beginning February 4, the exhibition’s accompanying publication will be available for purchase in the Museum store. It’s the first-ever monograph dedicated to Kwame Brathwaite. Featuring in-depth essays by Tanisha C. Ford and Deborah Willis and more than eighty images, Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, May 2019) offers a long overdue exploration of Brathwaite’s life and work.
This resource is intended to inform educators about the exhibition Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, so they are better able to lead students of all ages in meaningful discussions surrounding its content.
In the News
T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Photographer Who Captured the Beauty in Blackness
“Brathwaite’s lens marvels at the beauty of Blackness on its own terms, naturally.”Adam Bradley, T: The New York Times Style Magazine
Hyperallergic, How Photography and Jazz Merged to Forge the “Black Is Beautiful” Movement
CNN, Kwame Brathwaite’s Powerful Photos of the ‘Black Is Beautiful’ Movement
The Cut, An Uptown Photographer Who Captured Harlem Life
The Guardian, Black Is Beautiful: Celebrating the Significance of Kwame Brathwaite
Vogue, How One Photographer Captured the Soul of the “Black Is Beautiful” Movement
The New York Times, Uncovering the Soul of the ‘Black Is Beautiful’ Movement
“Kwame Brathwaite helped ignite a global celebration of African-American style and identity.”Jillian Steinhauer, The New York Times
Financial Times, Black Is Beautiful: the Photographs of Kwame Brathwaite