Culture Type: 15 Best Black Art Books of 2022, 2023
The New York Times: Best Art Books of 2022, 2022

AIGA: 50 Books | 50 Covers Winner, 2022

With Linda Goode Bryant, Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, Lilia Rocio Taboada, and Kimberly Varella at Artbook PS1, 2023

Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces

Curated by Thomas (T.) Jean Lax and Lilia Rocio Taboada
Edited by Maria Marchenkova
Contributions by Thelma Golden and Glenn D. Lowry, Linda Goode Bryant and Thelma Golden, Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, and Kellie Jones

Designed by Content Object, Kimberly Varella
Softcover, 184 pages
Publisher: Museum of Modern Art, NY and The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-63345-137-7
Dimensions: 9.5 × 12 in.
Printing: Ofset Yapımevi, Istanbul

In operation from 1974–1986, Just Above Midtown, or JAM, was a groundbreaking art gallery challenging the status quo and expanding the role of art led by Black artists and artists of color in New York City. The catalogue, published on the occasion of The Museum of Modern Art’s 2022–2023 exhibition, Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces acts as a directory of the archival material of JAM, expanding on the experimentation, collaborative spirit, and dialogue that the space (in all three locations) fostered. This collection of documentation, ephemera, 35mm slides, letterheads, flyers, etc. drove the material sensibility of the book—embracing the quality of the source material.

This edition features a silkscreened limp bound cover with a dust jacket, featuring tip-on images that mimic a photo print. The hyper-bold typography by Sharp Type is a compliment to the array of typography that’s within the material, yet also independent in its presence. Using the three spaces JAM operated in as an organizing device, the book is color-coded based on past flyers and divided into three sections that blur the distinctions between artwork, archive, and ephemera. These sections are punctuated by extensive oral histories by JAM community members while the plates section captures what a group exhibition would be like at JAM—diverse in material and medium. The repeated JAM on the spine of the dust jacket is a direct reference to JAM’s usage of their logo on their letterhead, used for multitudes of correspondences. This idea echoes JAM’s vibrating and generative legacy.

Photography by Ian Byers-Gamber