Combining black feminist theory, philosophy, and performance studies, Sarah Jane Cervenak ruminates on the significance of physical and mental roaming for black freedom. She is particularly interested in the power of wandering or daydreaming for those whose mobility has been under severe constraint, from the slave era to the present. Since the Enlightenment, wandering has been considered dangerous and even criminal when associated with people of color. Cervenak engages artist-philosophers who focus on wayward movement and daydreaming, or mental travel, that transcend state-imposed limitations on physical, geographic movement. From Sojourner Truth's spiritual and physical roaming to the rambling protagonist of Gayl Jones's novel Mosquito, Cervenak highlights modes of wandering that subvert Enlightenment-based protocols of rationality, composure, and upstanding comportment. Turning to the artists Pope.L (William Pope.L), Adrian Piper, and Carrie Mae Weems, Cervenak argues that their work produces an otherworldly movement, an errant kinesis that exceeds locomotive constraints, resisting the straightening-out processes of post-Enlightenment, white-supremacist, capitalist, sexist, and heteronormative modernity. Their roaming animates another terrain, one where free, black movement is not necessarily connected to that which can be seen, touched, known, and materially valued.
The Brooklyn Museum published two volumes related to its groundbreaking exhibition, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85, which focused on radical approaches to feminist thinking developed by women artists and activists of color. The first volume, a Sourcebook, was published in 2017 and focused on re-presenting key voices of the period by gathering a remarkable array of historical documents. Available in 2018, the second volume, New Perspectives, includes original essays and perspectives by Aruna D'Souza, Uri McMillan, Kellie Jones, and Lisa Jones that place the exhibition's works in both historical and contemporary contexts. New Perspectives also includes two new poems by Alice Walker. The book is generously illustrated with major objects from the exhibition, installation views, and other photographs. A checklist of the exhibition as well as an extensive bibliography complete the volume. Together with the Sourcebook, New Perspectives shares this important body of art by women of color, presents their voices, provides important commentary on that time and its unresolved issues, and offers extended documentation of the exhibition.We Wanted a Revolution will be on display at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from October 13, 2017 through January 14, 2018; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo from February 17 through May 27, 2018; and The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston from June 26 through September 30, 2018. Published by the Brooklyn Museum and distributed by Duke University Press
"My aim is to express in a natural way what I feel, what is in me, both rhythmically and spiritually, all that which in time has been saved up in my family of primitiveness and tradition, and which is now concentrated in me."--William H. Johnson
An essential figure in modern American art, William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was a virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques, who produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents, and genres. This volume considers paintings from the collection of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, that show the pivotal stages in Johnson's career as a modernist painter of post-impressionist and expressionist works reminiscent of Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Soutine, and the vernacular paintings in which he articulates his specific, unforgettable voice as an artist.
In this lavishly illustrated book, some of the world's premier scholars of William H. Johnson and African American art history examine the artist and his artistic genius in fresh new ways, including his relationship with one of his earliest patrons, the Harmon Foundation; the critical role played by scholars at the nation's historically black colleges and universities; the context of Johnson's experiences living in Harlem and his deep southern roots; and Johnson as a trailblazer in the genres of still life and landscape painting.