A multifaceted look at the work of award-winning American industrial designer Stephen Burks
Through essays, photo-essays, and a conversation between Black designer Stephen Burks (b. 1969) and the late cultural critic bell hooks, this book contextualizes Burks’s wide-ranging work while exploring design’s influence on politics, society, and culture. Burks’s work is underpinned by his belief in a pluralistic vision of design that is inclusive of all cultural perspectives; the award-winning designer has been commissioned by many of the world’s leading design-driven brands to develop collections that engage hand production as a strategy for innovation.
The book centers the industrial design and craft collaborations within Burks’s workshop-based design practice and offers an opportunity to reflect on the potential of design at a time when racial, social, and environmental justice remain in jeopardy. Topics explored in the book include an overview of the designer’s practice, from the foundational architecture culture of Chicago (Burks’s birthplace) to his latest speculative project; the workshop-based collaborative ethos of his studio, Stephen Burks Man Made; and the politics of design. In the conversation between bell hooks and Burks, hooks brings her critical eye to design as it relates to the broader field of African American cultural production.
Distributed for the High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art, Atlanta (September 16, 2022–March 5, 2023)
Philadelphia Museum of Art (November 19, 2023–April 14, 2024)
Monica Obniski is curator of decorative arts and design at the High Museum of Art.
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