David Hartt: Stray Light
10.5 x 9 inches
Designer: James Goggin
Publisher: Columbia College Chicago Press (August, 2013)
David Hartt’s images explore the social, cultural, political, and economic complexities of the subjects he captures. Stray Light surveys the 1971 Johnson Publishing Company building in Chicago, headquarters of the important Black-owned publishing company made famous by its Jet and Ebony magazine titles in addition to its role as a leading arbiter of African American taste and culture during the latter half of the twentieth century. Hartt’s work raises questions about the commingling of the personal and the public, and highlights the narratives and ideologies that underlie the Johnson firm while assessing their lasting impact on today’s society. Hartt was given unprecedented access to the building, much of which retains its ’70s design, apparent in the bright gold accents and vintage see-through furniture. His resulting photographs take viewers on a rich and revealing tour. They capture the distinct physical characteristics of the building, while simultaneously illuminating the power structures and ideological purposes they once represented. Stray Light was published by Columbia College Chicago press in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
Born in Montréal, Canada, 1967, Hartt currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. He received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994; his work is held in many private and public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the New York Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.