Designing Black Power


Ace Hotel New York, 20 W 29th St, New York, NY
The political rhetoric playing out on social media today, forty years ago, took place in part on the covers of paperback books. The sale of these publications, 99-cents at a time in pharmacies and grocery lines across America, helped shape contemporary discourse and design. With Designing Black Power, a pop-up display curated by Interference Archive, we examine the striking cover of Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s Black Poweras one example of such publication.
The original design by Larry Ratzkin is simple yet profound: a white field, the center crowded with the giant words “Black Power” in a thick, slab-serifed type. No images, no frills. The efficiency of the cover appears so natural that any other is hard to imagine; the design has come to embody the political moment in the late 1960s when Black people began bringing their struggle for liberation to the next level. The original, plus several variations including some foreign editions, will be on display for the month of November.
The Gallery Annex is located in the rear of the Ace Hotel New York Lobby Bar. It is a small space that holds big ideas.