Theaster Gates’ “Black Image Corporation” Photos at Prada Mode Miami

Inside and around the Freehand Miami and Broken Shaker, a powerful pop-up photo exhibit

Few brands have a rightful, logical place on the schedule during Miami Art Week, but Italian luxury house Prada continues to demonstrate why it deserves to be there. Beyond the fact that their involvement in the arts begins with a Milan-based foundation, Prada’s efforts in Miami are anchored by impeccable curation, with a social twist. Last year, their stunning Cartsen Höller-designed Double Club became one of the most sought-after tickets. This year’s Theaster Gates-led Prada Mode Miami destination replaces last year’s geometric razzle-dazzle with an “intervention” of imagery from the Johnson Publishing Company archives.

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Prada

The site-specific installation references Gates’s “The Black Image Corporation” exhibition at Fondazione Prada right now. At both locations, Gates highlights images of contemporary black identity—drawn from an archive of more than four million. John H. Johnson’s eponymous publishing company launched Ebony in 1945 and Jet in 1951. The impact of these monthly magazines on the dialogue regarding black culture and visual identity remains undeniably important. Further, Gates primarily focuses on sharing imagery of black women.

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Prada

Prada’s pop-up takes over the Freehand Miami, as well as the acclaimed Broken Shaker cocktail bar. Work is found inside and outside of the hotel—on walls above the pool and in corners of the lobby and lounge. The well-known location truly feels different. Ever-present is the gaze of black women and it’s powerful.