This ambitious publication centers indigenous perspectives on traditional artworks from Africa by focusing on the judgments and vocabularies of members of the communities who created and used them. It explores cross-cultural affinities spanning the African continent while respecting local contexts; it also documents an exhibition that is extraordinary in scope and scale. The project’s overriding goal is to reconsider Western evaluations of these arts in both aesthetic and financial terms.
The volume features nearly 300 works from collections around the world and from the important holdings of the Art Institute of Chicago. Although it emphasizes the sculptural legacy of sub-Saharan cultures from West and Central Africa, it also includes examples of artistic traditions associated with eastern and southern Africa as well as textiles and objects designed for domestic, ritual, and decorative functions.
The catalogue’s design seeks to translate a contemporary understanding of the importance of decolonization, equity, and inclusion, while projecting a dynamic vision of African art and culture. The cover and section openers incorporate a custom palette of colors drawn from the artworks; while the jacket organizes works along an indigenous aesthetic spectrum from front to back, and displays work in use on the back side.
Trim Size: 9 x 12.75 in
Number of Pages: 356
Binding Method: Smythsewn hardcover
Paper: 150gsm Condat Perigord
Typefaces: Atlas Grotesk by Susana Carvalho, Kai Bernau, and Christian Schwartz; Tiempos by Kris Sowersby for Klim Type Foundry
Creative Director: Cheryl Towler Weese
Book Designer: Brad Sturm, Meredith Barone
Jacket/Cover Designer: Cheryl Towler Weese, Brad Sturm, Meredith Barone
Production Director: Lauren Makholm
Production Coordinator: Ben Bertin
Other Credits: Gregory Nosan - Associate Vice President, Publishing and Interpretation, The Art Institute of Chicago; Lisa Meyerowitz - Editorial Director, The Art Institute of Chicago; A. Robin Hoffman - Editor, The Art Institute of Chicago; Joseph Mohan - Director of Production, The Art Institute of Chicago; Lauren Makholm - Assistant Director of Production, The Art Institute of Chicago; Ben Bertin - Production Coordinator, Publishing, The Art Institute of Chicago; Kylie Escudero and Pauline Lopez - Photography research/Rights and Reproduction Specialist, The Art Institute of Chicago; David B. Olsen - Proofreader; Jane Friedman - Indexer; Bonnie Rosenberg - Director of Imaging, The Art Institute of Chicago; Aidan Fitzpatrick - Associate Director of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago; Aidan Fitzpatrick, Bob Hashimoto, Robert Lifson, Gail Specht, Craig Stillwell, and Greg Williams - Photography; Owen Conway, Jonathan Mathias, and P. D. Young - Postproduction; Elyse Allen and Aidan Fitzpatrick - Preproduction and coordination; Professional Graphics, Rockford, Illinois - Color separations
The Language of Beauty in African Art
Book and Cover
Winner - AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2022
Book Title: The Language of Beauty in African Art
Design Firm/Agency: Studio Blue
Publisher: The Art Institute of Chicago
Author/Editor: Constantine Petridis
“Great cover, and a skillful and original design throughout. There was almost something polyrhythmic about the mix of alignments. And the catalogue managed to take a very academic flavor of typography and bring a freshness to it, contrasting language and beauty (from the endlessly compelling images) in a very direct, energizing way.”
- 50 Books Winner