The First One Who . . . !

An exhibition of sculptural books celebrating individuals of African ancestry who did it first. Seventeen Blacks in Book artists exhibited 32 structural books. Books profiled artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, singers Nat King ColeAretha Franklin, comedian Moms Mabley, businessman Ernest Stanley O’Neal, and other newsworthy “firsts.” The exhibit was dedicated to artist Tom Feelings. Curated by Ruth E. Edwards.

Exhibition College:

Kamari  Allah

Henry Ossawa Tanner
subject: Henry Ossawa Tanner

Wildfire
subject: (Mary) Edmonia “Wildfire” Lewis

Gail  Beckford

On Point
subject: Janet Collins

R. Gregory  Christie

Real Tales of the Old West
subject: Jim Beckwourth, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Bill Pickett and others

Francine J.  Davis

Blast Off!!!
subject: Robert Lawrence, Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Bernard A. Harris, Jr., Mae C. Jemison, Frederick D. Gregory

Valerie  Deas

Primitive By Choice
subject: Jean-Michel Basquiat

Stamped!
subject: Georg Olden

Ruth E.  Edwards

On the Ropes
subject: Jack Johnson

She Put A Dent In It
subject: Clotilde Dent Bowen

Steps of a Giant, The
subject: Colin Powell

Brenda  Falus

Money Market Man
subject: Ernest Stanley O’Neal

Ione M.  Foote

The Notable Eva Jessye
subject: Eva Jessye

Marina  Gutierrez

Real Tales of the Old West
subject: Jim Beckwourth, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Bill Pickett and others

Cleo  Jarvis

Here Comes the Judge
subject: Thurgood Marshall

Irene M.  Mays

What A Racket!
subject: Lucy Diggs Stowe, Tally Holmes, Ora Washington, Dr. Reginald Weir, Lorraine Williams, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Zena Garrison, Laurie Mitchell McNeil, and Venus and Serena Williams

Sandra  Redman

Brave Bessie
subject: Bessie Coleman

Slave to Fashion
subject: Elizabeth Keckley

Unforgettable
subject: Nat King Cole

Cheryl Ann  Shackelton Hawkins

Jackie Robinson, Play Ball!
subject: Jackie Robinson

Shimoda

Moms Mabley, Contained!
subject: Jackie “Moms” Mabley

Dolores  Taylor

Lilies of the Field
subject: Sidney Poitier

Harriette  Washington-Williams

Aretha Franklin: “Queen of Soul”
subject: Aretha Franklin

JoAnn  Williams

Gwendolyn Brooks: Truth Telling
subject: Gwendolyn Brooks

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ visual arts programming is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Exhibition Views

front cover of catalogue showing a painted portrait mounted on paper with a vertical column texture
title page of accordion catalog for the exhibition The First One Who...!
checklist of artists and works in The First One Who...!
checklist of books in the exhibition The First One Who...!
opened up accordion book with a list of famous black poeple who were the first to accomplish something notable
Catalogue page with descriptions of Matthew Henson, Edmonia Lewis and Desmond Tutu
three vinyl records on a table with a book about Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin: "Queen of Soul" by Harriette  Washington-Williams
Front of postcard with a painting of a black person wearing a hat and goggles in front of a yellow and purple landscape
back of postacrd announcing The First One Who...! with details about the dates and artists
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