How does race structure America’s cities? MoMA’s first exhibition to explore the relationship between architecture and the spaces of African American and African diaspora communities, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, presents 10 newly commissioned works by architects, designers, and artists that explore ways in which histories can be made visible and equity can be built. The exhibition includes the work of Woodbury School of Architecture alumnus Germane Barnes (MArch ’12).
Each project in the exhibition proposes an intervention in one of 10 cities: from the front porches of Miami and the bayous of New Orleans to the freeways of Oakland and Syracuse. Reconstructions examines the intersections of anti-Black racism and Blackness within urban spaces as sites of resistance and refusal, attempting to repair what it means to be American. Reconstructions features works by Emanuel Admassu, Germane Barnes, Sekou Cooke, J. Yolande Daniels, Felecia Davis, Mario Gooden, Walter Hood, Olalekan Jeyifous, V. Mitch McEwen, and Amanda Williams.
Barnes’ research and design practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Learning from historical data and perspectives from within architecture as well as cultural and ethnic studies, he examines how the built environment influences the social and cultural experience. Germane Barnes is the Director of Studio Barnes, a testing ground for the physical and theoretical investigations of architecture’s social and political agency. His design and research contributions have been published and exhibited in several international publications and institutions, including: The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, The Swiss Institute, DesignMIAMI/ Art Basel, Architect Magazine and Curbed.com, where he was named a member of the 2015 Class of Young Guns.
Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America is organized by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor, Columbia University, with Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.