Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

03.22.21 | By
Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

On February 27th, The Museum of Modern Art opened the fourth installment of their Issues in Contemporary Architecture series – Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. The exhibit, along with its accompanying publication, examines the intersections of architecture, Blackness and anti-Black racism, as well as contemporary architecture in the context of how systemic racism has fostered violent histories of discrimination and injustice in the U.S.

art exhibit poster

Reconstructions: Blackness and Architecture in America

The ten commissioned projects in the exhibit take a look at how people have mobilized Black cultural spaces, forms and practices as sites of imagination, resistance and refusal. Emanuel Admassu, Germane Barnes, Sekou Cooke, J. Yolande Daniels, Felecia Davis, Mario Gooden, Walter Hood, Olalekan Jeyifous, V. Mitch McEwen and Amanda Williams respond to narratives and conditions. The architects, designers and artists involved each focused in on Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Syracuse through their individual projects. The exhibit also presents David Hartt’s new film, On Exactitude in Science (Watts), which looks to the dimensions of Black life and spaces in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.


Horizontal Desk, Emanuel Admassu

The accompanying publication includes essays by the curators, the advisory committee and invited scholars, as well as new photographs by artist David Hartt, commissioned for the exhibit. Designed by Brooklyn-based Morcos Key, the publication features texts and visual materials – photographs, reproduced drawings, digital renderings, images of models – by each of the ten exhibition participants.

If you’d like to see Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America in person, it’s on view through May 31st on the third floor of MoMA. Appointments can be made online.

art detail

Emanuel Admassu. Planetary Scar (Mid-Atlantic Ridge). 2020. Silk, wool, and other threads. 7′ x 7′ (213.36 x 213.36 cm)


Flower Antenna, Felecia Davis


Germane Barnes. No Beach Access. 2020. Digital collage. 15 x 21.5″ (38.1 x 54.61 cm)


Trolley, Mario Gooden


Subway Kiosk, Olalekan Jeyifous


Stoop and Model, Sekou Cooke

film still

V. Mitch McEwen. Film still of R:R.


Models, Walter Hood


Amanda Williams. Spatial Diagrams. 2020. Ink on paper. 26 x 12” (66.04 x 30.48 cm)


J. Yolande Daniels. Race Plate. 2020. Digital rendering. 24 x 36″ (61 x 91.4 cm)

Installation photos: Robert Gerhardt

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.