In this book, art historian Darby English explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.1971: A Year in the Life of Color looks at many black artists' desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts--and those of their advocates--to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a "black aesthetic," these experiments with modernist art prioritized cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight. The importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color's special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism. With their supporters, black modernists--among them Peter Bradley, Frederick Eversley, Alvin Loving, Raymond Saunders, and Alma Thomas--rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for interracial collaboration and, above all, responding with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture's preoccupation with color.
In African American Visual Arts Celeste-Marie Bernier introduces readers to the sheer diversity, range, and experimental nature of African American art and artists and considers their relationship to key motifs within black culture and black experience in North America. The book traces the major developments in African American visual culture from its beginnings in the ceramics and textiles of slave artisans to later contributions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to the fine arts and abstract expressionism, sculpture, installation art, video art, and computer graphics.
Bernier analyzes the work of twenty-one artists, including Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, William Edmondson, Howardena Pindell, Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Betye Saar, Horace Pippin, and Kara Walker. She highlights key but frequently neglected and little-discussed black artists, situating their works within their specific historical and political contexts. Bernier provides a new understanding of their relationship to fundamental themes of the black experience such as black stereotyping and caricature in mainstream discourse, poverty in the inner city, and the division between the rural and the urban.
Covering basketry, musical instruments, wood carving, quilting, pottery, boatbuilding, blacksmithing, architecture, and graveyard decoration, John Vlach seeks to trace and substantiate African influences in the traditional arts and crafts of black Americans. It is a widespread tradition, he observes, readily visible in areas such as the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia but discernible as well in places far to the west and north. With the aid of more than two hundred photographs and numerous maps, diagrams, and drawings, Vlach not only examines the form and content of the artifacts and structures but also relates them to the complex cultural context from which they sprang--the interwoven strands of African and European influence.Originally published in 1978 as the catalog to a major exhibit by the Cleveland Museum of Art, this book was among the first to describe and analyze the achievements of African American artisans. It is now recognized as a landmark work, the standard in its field, and is widely used by historians, folklorists, anthropologists, and sociologists.
The Art and Activism of Marion Perkins: "To see reality in a new light" edited by Julia Perkins, Michael Flug and David Lusenhof preserves the art of Marion Perkins (1908-1961), a self-taught sculpture who became one of the most important visual artists in the Chicago Renaissance. Now fifty years after his death, Perkins work has inspired a new audience of artists, art enthusiast and art historians to study the rich cultural history of Chicago's black artists and writers. This book includes commentary, photography and documents from the 2009 year-long exhibit held at the Chicago Public Library's Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature. Third World Press was pleased to partner with the Harsh Society on the production of this book, which will serve as the official archival record of the exhibit.On preserving the art and legacy of Marion Perkins"Through his art, Marion Perkins imparted social and political commentary on the injustices and challenges faced by African Americans during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. This catalogue is a tribute to the man and the exhibition "'to see reality in a new light' the Art & Activism of Marion Perkins," which marked the first comprehensive survey of his legacy and contribution to the landscape of American art." --Julia Perkins
Jean-Michel Basquiat was only twenty-seven when he died in 1988, his meteoric and often controversial career having lasted for just eight years. Despite his early death, Basquiat's powerful oeuvre has ensured his continuing reputation as one of modern art's most distinctive voices. Borrowing from graffiti and street imagery, cartoons, mythology and religious symbolism, Basquiat's drawings and paintings explore issues of race and identity, providing social commentary that is shrewdly observed and biting. This bestselling book, now available in a compact edition, celebrates Basquiat's achievements in the contexts of the key influences on his art. It not only re-evaluates the artist's principal works and their meaning, but also explains what keeps his painting relevant today.
Borrowing from Romare Bearden's aesthetic palette and inspired by his Odysseus series, Bearden's Odyssey gathers, for the first time, poems from thirty-five of the most revered African diaspora poets in the United States. Poetic echoes come forth in themes of inspiration with historical intersections of one of the greatest visual artists of the twentieth century.The award-winning editors, Kwame Dawes and Matthew Shenoda, assemble an esteemed literary congregation, with original poems by Chris Abani, Rita Dove, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Ed Roberson, Aracelis Girmay, Yusef Komunyakaa, and more. With a powerful foreword by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott and stunning visual reproductions of select Bearden masterpieces, this anthology fuses art and literature, standing as a testament to Romare Bearden's power and influence in the contemporary artistic world.
Engaging a wide range of experiences, techniques and materials, the nine artists featured in this volume challenge the images of black women that continue to pervade our culture and influence perceptions: stereotypes such as the suffering mama, the angry black woman and the temptress. Brought together in this publication, works by Romare Bearden, Mildred Howard, Wangechi Mutu, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Robert Colescott, Ellen Gallagher, Alison Saar and Mickalene Thomas disrupt expectations and replace simplistic narratives with nuanced, sophisticated meditations on contemporary identity.
"Taken as a trilogy, consent not to be a single being is a monumental accomplishment: a brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis."-Brent Hayes Edwards, author of Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary ImaginationIn Black and Blur-the first volume in his sublime and compelling trilogy consent not to be a single being-Fred Moten engages in a capacious consideration of the place and force of blackness in African diaspora arts, politics, and life. In these interrelated essays, Moten attends to entanglement, the blurring of borders, and other practices that trouble notions of self-determination and sovereignty within political and aesthetic realms. Black and Blur is marked by unlikely juxtapositions: Althusser informs analyses of rappers Pras and Ol' Dirty Bastard; Shakespeare encounters Stokely Carmichael; thinkers like Kant, Adorno, and Jos Esteban Mu oz and artists and musicians including Thornton Dial and Cecil Taylor play off each other. Moten holds that blackness encompasses a range of social, aesthetic, and theoretical insurgencies that respond to a shared modernity founded upon the sociological catastrophe of the transatlantic slave trade and settler colonialism. In so doing, he unsettles normative ways of reading, hearing, and seeing, thereby reordering the senses to create new means of knowing.