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 1972 the artist Adrian Piper began periodically dressing as a persona called the Mythic Being, striding the streets of New York in a mustache, Afro wig, and mirrored sunglasses with a cigar in the corner of her mouth. Her Mythic Being performances critically engaged with popular representations of race, gender, sexuality, and class; they challenged viewers to accept personal responsibility for xenophobia and discrimination and the conditions that allowed them to persist. Piper's work confronts viewers and forces them to reconsider assumptions about the social construction of identity. Adrian Piper: Race, Gender, and Embodiment is an in-depth analysis of this pioneering artist's work, illustrated with more than ninety images, including twenty-one in color.
Over the course of a decade, John P. Bowles and Piper conversed about her art and its meaning, reception, and relation to her scholarship on Kant's philosophy. Drawing on those conversations, Bowles locates Piper's work at the nexus of Conceptual and feminist art of the late 1960s and 1970s. Piper was the only African American woman associated with the Conceptual artists of the 1960s and one of only a few African Americans to participate in exhibitions of the nascent feminist art movement in the early 1970s. Bowles contends that Piper's work is ultimately about our responsibility for the world in which we live.
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.
This catalog commemorates the exhibition " 'To See Reality in a New Light' The Art & Activism of Marion Perkins," held at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro- American History and Literature at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library in Chicago from January 31 to December 31, 2009.
Sculptor Marion Perkins emerged from Chicago's South Side during the 1930s to become one of that city's most celebrated artists. Largely self-taught, Perkins carved out an impressive body of work from scrap stone salvaged from abandoned buildings. The prestigious Art Institute of Chicago was one of the first to recognize his talent.
This richly illustrated book contains 100 color images of paintings created from 1964 to the present. It focuses primarily on the artist's full-figure portraits, as well as lesser known early works and the artist's more recent portal-like landscape paintings. The catalog includes the most comprehensive bibliography on Hendricks to date, a timeline of the artist's life, and an interview with the artist by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It also includes essays by Barkley L. Hendricks, Duke University art historian Richard J. Powell, exhibition curator Trevor Schoonmaker, and Franklin Sirmans, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection.
Publication of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Focusing on Jean-Michel Basquiat's extraordinary breadth of influences, from graffiti to bebop jazz to Hollywood cinema, this exciting new survey charts his ground-breaking career. Basquiat first came to prominence when he collaborated with Al Diaz to spray-paint enigmatic statements under the pseudonym SAMO(c). He went on to work on collages, Xerox art, postcards, performances, and music before establishing his reputation as one of the most important painters of his generation. Accompanying a major exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, this book opens with introductory essays from the curators, which place his practice in a wider art historical context and look at his career through the lens of performance. Six thematic chapters offer new research, with essays from poet Christian Campbell on SAMO(c); curator Carlo McCormick on New York / New Wave; writer Glenn O'Brien on the downtown scene; academic Jordana Moore Saggese on Basquiat's relationship to film and television; and music scholar Francesco Martinelli on Basquiat's obsession with jazz. This insightful new survey also features extended captions, rare archival material, and extensive photography, demonstrating how Basquiat's legacy remains more powerful and relevant than ever 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.
Betye Saar (born 1926) is a legend. For 60 years, she has created powerful artworks that question traditional roles and representations of African Americans and women in the US, as well as deeply personal works about her family history and spirituality. Betye Saar: Still Tickin' considers the breadth of the artist's career and its key themes. To contextualize Saar's works, this volume includes writings by the artist from the 1970s to the present day as well as a recent interview with Saar in which she discusses her artistic practice and her views on history, including the current debate about police violence in the US. "My art becomes an explorer, a tracer of forgotten tribes, a seeker of sanctified visions," explains Saar. "These works are what I leave behind."
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.