820 Ebony/Jet
Project info

This project documents the core essence of the Johnson Publishing Company’s historic building in its semi-skeletal state before the final remnants of John Moutoussamy’s architectural design, Arthur Elrod’s interiors and the last vestiges of the original JPC communal workspace vanish. The company occupied the structure from 1972 until 2012.

820 South Michigan is about to morph into a new and different functionality as the future student center for Columbia College, Chicago. The building contains bits and pieces of its long time occupant Johnson Publishing and still embodies the spirit of this landmark African-American company.

The textures, colors, residual structures and remnants from the Johnson workplace all combine to create a unique, altered environment supplying the inspiration for the imagery. Outside the influence of human intervention, time has been mark-marking within The Johnson Building for over 40 years. Through serendipity and in concert with the individuals who occupied the space, gestures have been created by the movement of light over the surfaces revealing an expressive vocabulary that documents the passage of the decades. The absence of furniture and personal artifacts does not negate the reminder of its previous intensely vital occupancy, transcending both time and memory and providing a collective narrative of the past.