7 Design and Art Books for Your Shelf This Black History Month (And All Year)

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For Black History Month, we are highlighting the people and projects you should know about all year long. 

Whether you're looking to dive into a new, design-focused read or you want to give your coffee table a fresh look for those — eventual! — visitors, there are a number of books we're currently adding-to-cart. Given that it's Black History Month, we're highlighting a few of our favorite finds by Black designers and authors, from new reads about beloved artists to staples any interiors lover simply must own.

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Because you can never have too many books (trust us!), we're sharing some of our picks below.

1. Jungalow: Decorate Wild​, $29

In 2015, LA-based designer Justina Blakeney brought us ​The New Bohemians,​ a ​New York Times​ bestseller that you probably saw all across Instagram. Now, her free-spirited design practices are at the center of the forthcoming ​Jungalow: Decorate Wild.​ Blakeney's accessible language and focus on practical advice (and very fun, very colorful rule-breaking) is a welcome breath of fresh air.

2. ​Francis Kéré: Radically Simple, $50

Born in 1965, Francis Kéré is an artist who sees the possibilities of architecture. The award winner notably designed Legacy Campus in Kenya for the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation (MSOF), the foundation of one of president Barack Obama's grandparents. In this read, you'll find stunning photographs alongside insight that adds to the stories of the acclaimed architect — and reminds us of the power of spaces.

3. ​Among Others: Blackness at MoMA,$48

It's an unfortunate truth that museums have a tense relationship with Black art and artists. Here, the Museum of Modern Art doesn't turn away from that relationship; rather, it looks directly at that tension and sees it as a source of exploration. This collection of essays on nearly 200 MoMA works is an absolute staple that honors Black artists and designers in a smart and memorable way.

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4. ​Wild Creations: Inspiring Projects to Create plus Plant Care Tips & Styling Ideas for Your Own Wild Interior, $18

At times, you just want to be surrounded by beauty. Now, add plants to the mix. Self-proclaimed "plant-care wizard" Hilton Carter offers first-hand guidance on how to showcase plants in an artful and intentional way in the forthcoming ​Wild Creations: Inspiring Projects to Create plus Plant Care Tips & Styling Ideas for Your Own Wild Interior.​ From wall mounted plants to genius hacks, the tips in this book will encourage you to add a bit of lushness to your own space, or to simply page through their brilliance. You can also check out Carter's 2020 book Wild Interiors: Beautiful Plants In Beautiful Spaces for more inspiration.

5. ​Designing a New Tradition: Loïs Mailou Jones and the Aesthetics of Blackness,$60

Rebecca VanDiver's ​Designing a New Tradition​ has a singular goal: to explore Loïs Mailou Jones's contributions to American art, and to offer a framework for better understanding Black art and identity. It's a doable read, and a worthy one. Made up of a combination of stories and quotes, it's a must-have for any design obsessive.

6. David Adjaye - Works 1995-2007: Houses, Pavilions, Installations, Buildings​,​ $53

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If you're on the hunt for a book that steps into the unexpected, award winning Ghanaian-British David Adjaye's work will deftly serve that purpose. This book walks readers through his projects from the earliest in his career until more recently, from studios to courtyards. Unexpected materials are at the forefront of his projects, making this a unique read to add to your stack and revisit time and time again for inspiration. Adjaye designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Need we say more?

7. Faith Ringgold​, ​$37

90-year-old Faith Ringgold is a painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, and more. Here, Ringgold's daughter, Michelle, a Black feminist author and professor, has crafted an impressive book. Archiving more than 50 years of art, this is a colorful and bold volume that's more than worthy of your shelf.

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Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer and editor. Her work has been published in Vogue, Allure, Refinery29, Domino, and elsewhere. She is @RachelCharleneL across the internet.

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