David Hartt talked his way into the Johnson Publishing Company—the once-proud first black business to have its own building on Chicago's Loop, home of Jet and Ebony magazines—just before the company announced it would have to downsize and move from its iconic headquarters.
The headquarters had been built in a heyday both for magazine publishing and Civil Rights. When the building opened in 1971, it boasted of having the largest collection of African and black American art in the United States. The architecture and finishings were designed to within an inch of life, from test kitchen to makeup studio to the library.
Hartt took photographs and video in the last days of the building. From his footage he created the installation Stray Light, now visiting the Henry Art Gallery at UW. Stay tuned for a review. A handful of the striking images—of a place made to be photographed—follows.