Silas Munro is a designer, artist, writer, and curator. He is the founder of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-owned graphic design studio Polymode based in Los Angeles and Raleigh that works with clients across cultural spheres. Commissions and collaborations include: The New York Times Magazine, MIT Press, Nike, Airbnb, the Brooklyn Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Art Institute of Chicago, Dia Art Foundation, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Munro is the curator and author of Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest which opened at Letterform Archive in 2022–2023. He was a contributor to W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America and co-authored the first BIPOC-centered design history course, Black Design in America: African Americans and the African Diaspora in Graphic Design 19–21st Century. Munro is faculty co-chair for the MFA Program in graphic design at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

On Thursday, April 4, from 6:00pm–7:00pm at SU’s School of Design, Arts, and Communication Building, Munro will give a public lecture, On the Consideration of a Black Grid, a visual essay that charts a series of experimental meditations on how grids can shape Black liberatory forms. Through his Polymodal design investigations, Munro sets a curious space that asks the question, What might be a Black Grid?

Silas Munro, On the Consideration of a Black Grid 

From the funky, fresh Black modernism of the Johnson Publishing Company’s headquarters designed by John Warren Moutoussamy with Arthur Elrod and William Raiser to the expressive graffitied grids of Adam Pendelton’s monumental canvases in black and white, there lives a wide-ranging matrix of possibilities for what I consider to be a Black Grid. The renowned design scholar Audrey G. Bennett’s text, Follow the Golden Ratio from Africa to the Bauhaus for a Cross-Cultural Aesthetic for Images, traces a lineage of fractal ingenuity in the Sub-Saharan Cameroonian palace of a Chief in Logone-Birni that likely influenced Egyptian, North African Temple architecture, linking to Italy through the mathematician Fibonacci known for his so-called “golden ratio” that then informed European ideals of beauty circulating in the infamous Bauhaus art school. Bennett’s postulations connect to my meandering search to see myself as a Black designer, artist, and unexpected design historian in a sea of pedagogies that don’t represent me or my lived experience.


Christopher Metzger, Professor + Chair, Art + Graphic Design

Stevenson University, School of Design, Arts, and Communication

[email protected] / 443.394.9380

Stevenson University, Art & Graphic Design 2024 Artist in Residence

Silas Munro, On the Consideration of a Black Grid

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Reception: 5:30pm–6:00pm

Public Lecture: 6:00pm–7:00pm

School of Design, Arts, and Communication, Sound Stage, SD 101 

11100 Ted Herget Way

Owings Mills, MD 21117

Add to Calendar 20240404 America/New_York Silas Munro, On the Consideration of a Black Grid