Germane Barnes: Unsettled

September 29th - November 19th, 2022

Nina Johnson is pleased to present Unsettled, an exhibition of never-before-seen works by architect and designer Germane Barnes. On view from September 29 – November 19, 2022, the show features ten works that explore the theme of migration, specifically methods and materials of migration from the African Continent. The majority of the work in the show was made while Barnes was on residency at the American Academy of Rome.

Barnes’ award-winning research and design practice examines the connection between architecture and identity, exploring architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design innovation. Through this work, Barnes investigates how built environments influence Black domesticity. The artist’s practice is heavily informed by his personal history in addition to global history, and is driven by the goal of using architecture as a means of telling stories that otherwise go unheard.

In Unsettled, artworks include two woven tapestries, three pieces of furniture of varying materials that reference migration, and five two-dimensional pieces. The exhibition is divided into two sections –– half of the works are United States-focused and the other half are globally centered.

The featured tapestries are literal maps that highlight redlining and segregation. Barnes has produced the tapestries using a classical weaving technique, rendered in New Zealand wool and fine Egyptian cotton.

The collage is a timeline of African processes taken abroad. The map, done on Roman paper only available in Rome that has been transported back to the United States, also highlights these themes of migration. The stool is also a nod to migration and is an amalgamation of three materials close to Barnes’ personal history –– steel (an homage to Chicago Skyscrapers), concrete (an homage to Miami Brutalism), and resin (an homage to the artist’s time living abroad).

This exhibition, while exploring migration from an African perspective, also tells the story of Barnes’ personal journey of movement from Chicago, to Cape Town, to Los Angeles, and now to Miami. Unsettled is Barnes’ interpretation of Black migration within the continental United States and abroad, and works to blur the lines between design and architecture.

  • Germane Barnes, Nina Johnson, Exhibition, Miami
    Miami, 2022, Digital Rendering to be produced in traditional Aubusson/Gobelin weaving technique
Germane Barnes

Germane Barnes is an Assistant Professor and the Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture, a testing ground for the physical and theoretical investigations of architecture’s social and political resiliency. Barnes’ work has been exhibited at and written about most notably in, The Museum of Modern Art, The Graham Foundation, The New York Times, Architect Magazine, DesignMIAMI/ Art Basel, The Swiss Institute, Metropolis Magazine, Curbed, and The National Museum of African American History where he was identified as one of the future designers on the rise. Barnes is a recipient of the 2021 Rome Prize for Architecture and will have a solo exhibition in the Upstairs Gallery at Nina Johnson in 2022.