Deborah Willis: In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond
Edited by Kalia Brooks Nelson and Nick Kline
With additional written contributions by Maurice Berger, Jacqueline Bishop, Kalia Brooks Nelson, Cheryl Finley, Elyssa Goodman, Nick Kline, Carla Williams, Trudy Wilner Stack.
Book Design: Chantal Fischzang
200 pages, 100 color images, 9.5" x 9.5" (23.5cm x 23.5cm)
Deborah Willis, In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond is a stunningly layered photobook featuring the work of one of the boldest photographers and historians of photography of our time. In Pursuit of Beauty is a lovingly sequenced visual journey that takes us from the home of Harlem fashion icon Lana Turner, to that of Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates, Jr., in Cambridge, to the artist’s year-long engaged project with Shine Portrait Studio in and around Newark, NJ, where she explores the ways in which the concept of beauty is represented through the intimate space of the closet. In Pursuit of Beauty re-contextualizes the artist’s earlier photographs of barber shops and beauty salons, people posing beauty, street scenes, landscapes, interior spaces, and blackamoors -- all punctuated by critical writing about the artist’s expansive practice. Deborah Willis’s work as an artist, scholar and educator is grounded in making and studying photographs that reflect personal and collective memories on beauty. As an extension, Willis’s new body of work investigates the closet as a site where beauty is enacted through the representation of our private and public selves.
“A pair of sumptuous velvet heels. A perfectly molded hat. Worn leather shoes. Gold Lamé. There is strong presence felt in the absence captured in all of Deborah Willis’ images. It’s as if we can see the very individuals who have walked in this footwear, the heads adorned by these hats and those who have danced, laughed and felt joy in these clothes. Willis’ work is bold, poignant and affirming....”
New York University
Shirts & Skins consists of a series of photographs by Nick Kline depicting horizontal lines composed from a selection of striped shirts worn and owned by paulA neves’ late mother, Maria, and snapshots of these same shirts framed from moments as they were worn in life, accompanied by paulA neves’ poems and essays. It is a meditation on immigration, insularity, acculturation—what it means to be American, mother, father, child, adult, and gendered within inherited legacies of cultural trauma and comfort, with Newark, NJ and its greater metro area’s Portuguese community always a presence. Shirts & Skins considers what it means to be whole and alive in one’s skin.
Shirts & Skins
paulA neves & Nick Kline
60 pages, 9.25" x 7"