Architecture and Blackness in America

On February 27, the Museum of Modern Art opened the fourth part of its series “Issues in Contemporary Architecture” – Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. The exhibition, along with the accompanying publication, examines the intersections of architecture, blackness, and anti-black racism, as well as contemporary architecture, in the context of how systemic racism has fostered violent stories of discrimination and injustice in the United States

Reconstructions: Blackness and Architecture in America

The ten commissioned projects in the exhibition show how people have mobilized black cultural spaces, forms and practices as places of imagination, resistance and rejection. Emanuel Admassu, Germane Barnes, Sekou Cooke, J. Yolande Daniels, Felecia Davis, Mario Gooden, Walter Hood, Olalekan Jeyifous, V. Mitch McEwen, and Amanda Williams respond to narratives and conditions. The architects, designers and artists involved concentrated on their individual projects in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Syracuse. The exhibition also features David Hartt’s new film On Exactitude in Science (Watts), which explores the dimensions of black life and spaces in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.


Horizontal desk, Emanuel Admassu

The accompanying publication contains articles by the curators, the advisory board and the invited scholars as well as new photographs by the artist David Hartt commissioned for the exhibition. The publication was designed by Morcos Key of Brooklyn and contains texts and images – photographs, reproduced drawings, digital renderings, images of models – from each of the ten exhibitors.

If you’d like to see Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America in person, it’s on view on the third floor of MoMA until May 31st. Appointments can be made online.

Art detail

Emanuel Admassu. Planetary Scar (Mid-Atlantic Ridge). 2020. Silk, wool and other threads. 7 ‘x 7’ (213.36 x 213.36 cm)


Flower antenna, Felecia Davis


German Barnes. No beach access. 2020. Digital collage. 38.1 x 54.61 cm (15 x 21.5 “)


Car, Mario Gooden


Metro kiosk, Olalekan Jeyifous


Bend over and model, Sekou Cooke

Movie still

V. Mitch McEwen. Film still from R: R.


Models, Walter Hood


Amanda Williams. Space diagrams. 2020. Ink on paper. 66.04 x 30.48 cm (26 x 12 in)


J. Yolande Daniels. Race Plate. 2020. Digital rendering. 61 x 91.4 cm (24 x 36 in)

Installation photos: Robert Gerhardt

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