Since 1973, cinephile John Duke Kisch has been documenting the evolution of African American film through a beloved, but sometimes overlooked medium -- movie posters. From "Siren of the Tropics," starring the inimitable Josephine Baker, to "Cotton Comes to Harlem," an Ossie Davis favorite, Kisch meticulously found and saved the stunning visual advertisements for films that adorned city streets and theater halls. Eventually, he amassed over 38,000 posters from 30 different countries, amounting to a massive visual history of Hollywood's relationship to race and representation.
His collection, the world's largest privately owned archive of black film memorabilia, has recently been compiled into a book, titled A Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art. A striking homage to the graphic design aesthetic of yesteryear, the series of pop artworks more important...
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