AIGA: 50 Books | 50 Covers Winner, 2021

Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend

Edited by Ciara Ennis and Rebecca McGrew
Contributions by Sadie Barnette, Ciara Ennis, Rujeko Hockley, Rebecca Mcgrew

Designed by Content Object, Kimberly Varella
Casebound Hardcover, 88 pages
Publisher: Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College and Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, CA, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-9979306-5-8
Dimensions: 7.25 × 9.5 in.
Separations: Echelon Color, Santa Monica, CA
Printing: Permanent Ink, Hong Kong  

The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College and the Pitzer College Art Galleries partnered in 2021 to host a dual exhibition of the artist Sadie Barnette’s new work—showing a range of pieces, from life-size recreation of a living room resurfaced in glittering pink at Pitzer to a series of large scale drawings at the Benton, hyper-enlarged recreations from a recently discovered 500-page FBI dossier on her father, Rodney Barnette, a lifelong activist and founder of the Compton chapter of the Black Panther Party.

The accompanying publication places that historical method at the forefront, using paper changes to separate the institutional essays, exhibition documentation, and the personal essays written by Barnette herself—accompanied by family photography, printed ephemera, and screenshots from the artist’s Instagram feed—further blurring the lines between the personal and political. In the center of the book, a facsimile of the Eaglecreek Saloon zine (originally produced by Sadie Barnette in 2019) is reproduced at scale as a trimmed insert, recalling DIY modes of distribution used by community activists.

Photography by Ian Byers-Gamber