Published by Fondazione Prada. Edited with text by Mario Mainetti, Chiara Costa, Elvira Dyangani Ose. Foreword by Miuccia Prada, Patrizio Bertelli. Text by Richard J. Powell, Deborah Willis, Kellie E. Jones.
Uneasy Dancer brings together over 80 works including installations, assemblages, collages and sculptures by the pioneering Los Angeles artist Betye Saar (born 1926) produced between 1966 and 2016. This handsomely designed volume presents Saar’s work as a copiously illustrated timeline, with numerous documentary images and exhibition details. “Uneasy Dancer” is an expression Saar has used to define both herself and her artistic practice: “my work moves in a creative spiral with the concepts of passage, crossroads, death and rebirth, along with the underlying elements of race and gender.” Through her use of found objects, personal memorabilia and derogatory images that evoke denied or distorted narratives, Saar developed a powerful social critique that challenges racial and sexist stereotypes deeply rooted in American culture.
Images of a Revolution: Radical Jazz in the USA 1960-75
Published by Soul Jazz Books. Edited by Stuart Baker.
At the start of the 1960s, jazz entered a unique period of revolution as African-American musicians redefined the art form in the context of the Civil Rights Movement, Afro-centric rhythm and thought and an ideology of black economic empowerment. John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler and others developed a new cosmology of sound that was as revolutionary as the social and political changes that took place in America throughout the decade. From the musical explorations of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman to the collective and community concerns of Chciago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the black science fiction of Sun Ra, the new jazz musicians created a musical and cultural landscape from which jazz never looked back. This large-format deluxe hardback book features hundreds of stunning photographs of the new jazz musicians in the USA throughout the 1960s, presented with an introductory essay and biographies on the many artists included in the book.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Text by Esther Adler.
The Chicago-born artist Charles White (1918–79) was celebrated during his lifetime for depictions of African-American men, women and children that acquired the name “images of dignity. White’s draftsmanship, his direct address of the social and political concerns of his time, and his commitment to media that gave his art wide circulation established him as a major artist, and one with significant influence both on his contemporaries and on later generations. Beginning with White’s early days as an artist in the Chicago of the 1930s and ’40s, moving through his time spent developing his craft in New York in the late 1940s and ’50s, and closing with his final decades as a revered figure in Los Angeles, Charles White: Black Pope explores the artist’s practice and strategies through consideration of key works. It devotes particularly close examination to his late masterwork "Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man)," in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art. By creating visually compelling, ideologically complex works that engage audiences on many levels, White established himself as a key figure of his time, one whose work continues to resonate today.
Published by Steidl/Gordon Parks Foundation/National Gallery of Art. Edited by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Philip Brookman. Foreword by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Earl A. Powell III. Introduction by Sarah Lewis. Text by Maurice Berger, Philip Brookman, Richard J. Powell, Deborah Willis.
Published to accompany the critically acclaimed traveling exhibition currently on view at the National Gallery of Art (en route to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum and Addison Gallery through 2020), The New Tide: Early Works 1940-1950 brings together photographs and publications made during the first and most formative decade of Gordon Parks' 65-year career. Reviewed in The New York Times, AnOther Magazine, PDN and The Globe and Mail, among other venues, it is one of Teju Cole's Best Photo Books of 2018 for The New York Times: "In great detail, we are taken through Parks’ first decade of independent work, and see how he evolved from portraiture and fashion to the social documentary for which he became widely celebrated. It’s a pleasure to see how, even in the early work, Parks’s eye is unerring… The catalog is as accomplished for the photographs it reprints as it is for its many fine essays on Parks, including those by Maurice Berger, Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis and Philip Brookman, which contextualize Parks with the writers who mattered to him, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright among them."
Published by Gregory R. Miller & Co.. Text by Katy Siegel, Kelly Baum, Jack Whitten, Richard Shiff, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Kellie Jones. Interview with Courtney Martin.
What a book! This art-historical must-have was published to accompany the revelatory 2018 traveling exhibition of Jack Whitten's previously un-shown and unpublished sculptural work at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was reviewed everywhere from The New York Times, The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books to Bookforum, where Albert Mobilio writes, "Whitten repurposed traditional forms with the same ease that marked his movement between modes of visual representation."
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited by Leah Dickerman, Elsa Smithgall. Text by Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Spears Jones, Natasha Trethewey, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Crystal Williams, Kevin Young.
Lawrence's landmark series on African American migration in context
In 1941, Jacob Lawrence, then just 23 years old, made a series of 60 small tempera paintings on the Great Migration, the decades-long mass movement of black Americans from the rural South to the urban North that began in 1915–16. The child of migrant parents, Lawrence worked partly from his own experience and partly from long research in his neighborhood library. The result was an epic narrative of the collective history of his people. Moving from scenes of terror and violence to images of great intimacy, and drawing on film, photography, political cartoons and other sources in popular culture, Lawrence created an innovative format of sequential panels, each image accompanied by a descriptive caption. Within months of its completion, the series entered the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Phillips Memorial Gallery (today The Phillips Collection), Washington, DC, each institution acquiring 30 panels.
The Migration Series is now a landmark in the history of modern art. Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, now in paperback, grounds Lawrence’s work in the cultural and political debates that shaped his art and demonstrates its relevance for artists and writers today. The series is reproduced in full; short texts accompanying each panel relate them to the history of the Migration and explore Lawrence’s technique and approach. Alongside scholarly essays, the book also includes 11 newly commissioned poems, by Rita Dove, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Spears Jones, Natasha Trethewey, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Crystal Williams and Kevin Young, that respond directly to the series. The distinguished poet Elizabeth Alexander edited and introduces the section.
Published by Damiani. Introduction by Marla Hamburg Kennedy. Interview by Cheryl Dunn.
During the summer of 1980, under the direction of his photographer father, Jamel Shabazz armed himself with a Canon AE1 SLR camera and began to photograph the landscape of his native New York City. Photographing in the streets put Shabazz right in the heart of all of the action; he carried his camera everywhere he went, from Harlem to Times Square, the Lower East Side to downtown Brooklyn, always set and at the ready. Like a fisherman seeking a fruitful catch, Shabazz ventured into locations full of life and uncertainty in hopes of capturing a unique moment. Consisting of 120 color and black-and-white photographs taken between 1985 and the 2000s, most of which have never been published, Sights in the City is the testament of Shabazz’s visual journey.
New York–based Jamel Shabazz (born 1960) is a documentary, fashion and street photographer. Since first picking up the camera nearly 40 years ago he has authored seven monographs (including the popular volume Back in the Days) and exhibited worldwide; his work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, The Smithsonian and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Published by Damiani. Edited by Steven Kasher. Text by Jill Freedman, John Edwin Mason, Aaron Bryant.
This 50th-anniversary edition of Jill Freedman’s 1970 photo book documenting the climax of Dr. Martin Luther King's 1968 Poor People's Campaign—set in Resurrection City, a six-week, 3,000-person protest encampment on the Washington Mall—is "a masterpiece," according to Kirkus. "Her black-and-white prints are honest and stirring portraits of the ordinary people at the heart of this historic uprising," Rebecca Bengal writes in Vulture. "The reissue is timely. Inequity is starker than ever." —Holland Cotter, The New York Times.
Published by Wexner Center for the Arts. Foreword by Sherri Geldin. Text by Nicole R. Fleetwood, Michael Goodson, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Antwaun Sargent.
Presenting paintings of some of the artist's key models and muses, I Can't See You Without Me illuminates the work of Brooklyn painter Mickalene Thomas (born 1971). Culling from art history and popular culture, Thomas creates scintillating portraits that deconstruct the highly charged connections between sitter, artist and viewer. Whether depicted as classically composed 19th-century odalisques, Afro-adorned vixens of blaxploitation films or as a powerful maternal figure yearning for social mobility, the recurring models in Thomas' compositions (almost exclusively women of color) convey a spirit of strength and self-confidence. Across this archetypal array, it is both their contradictions and kinships that make the black female body such fertile terrain for the artist's ongoing investigations. By casting herself, her late mother and other formidable women in her life as models, muses and collaborators, Thomas particularizes her distinctive oeuvre of portraiture. Focused yet expansive, the catalog both reasserts and further contextualizes issues of identity, sexuality and agency in Thomas' work that have only become more nuanced and palpable over time.
Published by First Print Press. Afterword by Sherry Turner DeCarava.
“The sensitivity of the photographs and the excellent blending of the pictures with the text... Bravo!” Henri Cartier-Bresson The Sweet Flypaper of Life is a "poem" about ordinary people, about teenagers around a jukebox, about children at an open fire hydrant, about riding the subway alone at night, about picket lines and artist work spaces. This renowned, life-affirming collaboration between artist Roy DeCarava and writer Langston Hughes honors in words and pictures what the authors saw, knew and felt deeply about life in their city. Hughes’ heart-warming description of Harlem in the late 1940s and early 1950s is seen through the eyes of one grandmother, Sister Mary Bradley. We experience the sights and sounds of Harlem through her learned and worldly eyes, expressed here through Hughes’ poetic prose. As she states, "I done got my feet caught in the sweet flypaper of life and I’ll be dogged if I want to get loose." DeCarava’s photographs lay open a world of sense and feeling that begins with his perception and vision. His ruminations go beyond the limit of simple observation and contend with deeper meanings to reveal these individuals as subjects worthy of art. As Hughes keenly observes, "We’ve had so many books about how bad life is, maybe it’s time to have one showing how good it is."
First published in 1955, the book, widely considered a classic of photographic visual literature, was reprinted by public demand several times. This fourth printing, the Heritage Edition, is the first authorized English-language edition since 1983 and includes an afterword by Sherry Turner DeCarava tracing the history and ongoing importance of this book.
Over the course of six decades, American artist Roy DeCarava (1919–2009) produced a singular collection of black-and-white photographs of modern life that combine formal acuity with an intimate and deeply human treatment of his subject matter. Grounded by a unified theory of the visual plane, his work displays a subtle mastery of tonal and spatial elements and devotion to the medium of photography as a means of artistic expression. DeCarava created images that carry an emotional impact in their immediate relationship to the viewer, while also revealing less-than-visible terrains. DeCarava’s pioneering work privileged the aesthetic qualities of the medium, carrying the ability to reach the viewer as a counterpoint to the view of photography as mere chronicle or document and helping it to gain acceptance as an art form in its own right.
Langston Hughes (1902–1967) was a poet, novelist, playwright, and social activist. Known worldwide as a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes’s work has been significant in introducing black history and culture into the corpus of American cultural history as well as inspiring with his humanistic concerns, writers in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America. While living in Harlem, Hughes maintained close relationships with other writers working in and around the city—Aaron Douglas, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, and Wallace Thurman were all considered friends and they would frequently gather to discuss politics, writing, and literature. Together, this close group of writers was instrumental in giving voice to the communities that would not accept persecution and marginalization. Hughes’s dispatches for the New York newspapers raised quotidian reportage to an art, filing moving descriptions of the famed Harlem Brigade who were martyred during the Spanish Civil War. Later in his life Hughes turned toward collaboration, working with the German composer Kurt Weill on the 1947 opera Street Scene, with jazz musicians including Charles Mingus and with the photographer Roy DeCarava on The Sweet Flypaper of Life.
Sherry Turner DeCarava
Sherry Turner DeCarava is an art historian, curator, and independent scholar in the fields of traditional arts and contemporary American photography. She has taught or lectured extensively at universities and museums, including Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn Museum, and Rockefeller University. Serving as the executive director, the principal focus of her professional career has been the development of The DeCarava Archives, which supports exhibition and scholarly research projects related to the work of her late husband Roy DeCarava. She is the author of two definitive texts on his photography, including that in Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1996) and in Roy DeCarava: Photographs, a monograph published by the Friends of Photography/Ansel Adams Trust (1981). Awarded the Prix de la Photographie by Les Rencontres de la Photographie, the Arles Center for Culture, in its annual survey of international photography, her 1981 text was lauded as the best photo/text collaboration of the year. In 2014 she initiated First Print Press, beginning a process to republish classic Roy DeCarava books, while bringing new photographic projects into print.
Published by Reel Art Press. Edited by John Duke Kisch, Tony Nourmand. Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Text by John Duke Kisch, Peter Doggett. Afterword by Spike Lee.
This magnificent volume is a celebration of the first 100 years of black film poster art. A visual feast, these images recount the diverse and historic journey of the black film industry from the earliest days of Hollywood to the present day, accompanied by insightful accompanying text, a foreword by black history authority and renowned academic Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and an afterword by Hollywood director Spike Lee. These posters have meaning for young and old alike, and possess the power to transcend ethnicity. They capture the spirit and energy of an earlier time, reminding people of the pioneers of the past, those courageous and daring African American filmmakers, entertainers and artists whose dreams and struggles paved the way for future generations. The wealth of imagery on these pages is taken from the Separate Cinema Archive, maintained by archive director John Kisch. The most extensive private holdings of African-American film memorabilia in the world, it contains over 35,000 authentic movie posters and photographs from over 30 countries. This stunning coffee table book represents some of the archive's greatest highlights.
Published by D.A.P./Tate. Edited with text by Mark Godfrey, Zoé Whitley. Contributions by Linda Goode Bryant, Susan E. Cahan, David Driskell, Edmund Barry Gaither, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Samella Lewis.
African American art in the era of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers
In the period of radical change that was 1963–83, young black artists at the beginning of their careers confronted difficult questions about art, politics and racial identity. How to make art that would stand as innovative, original, formally and materially complex, while also making work that reflected their concerns and experience as black Americans?
Soul of a Nation surveys this crucial period in American art history, bringing to light previously neglected histories of 20th-century black artists, including Sam Gilliam, Melvin Edwards, Jack Whitten, William T. Williams, Howardina Pindell, Romare Bearden, David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Senga Nengudi, Noah Purifoy, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Charles White and Frank Bowling.
The book features substantial essays from Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley, writing on abstraction and figuration, respectively. It also explores the art-historical and social contexts with subjects ranging from black feminism, AfriCOBRA and other artist-run groups to the role of museums in the debates of the period and visual art’s relation to the Black Arts Movement. Over 170 artworks by these and many other artists of the era are illustrated in full color.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first use of the term “black power” by student activist Stokely Carmichael; it will also be 50 years since the US Supreme Court overturned the prohibition of interracial marriage. At this turning point in the reassessment of African American art history, Soul of a Nation is a vital contribution to this timely subject.
Published by Soul Jazz Books. Edited by Stuart Baker.
Harlem’s gay ball subculture of the late 1980s is superbly documented in this trove of previously unseen photographs.
In 1989, Malcolm McLaren had his only number one hit with a single called "Deep in Vogue." Early the next year, Madonna had one of the biggest hits of her career, with the single "Vogue," and when Jennie Livingston's film Paris Is Burning arrived in cinemas the same year, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the mainstream got hip to New York City's extraordinary ball culture, from which the film and McLaren and Madonna's songs had arisen. Paris Is Burning documented a gay ballroom scene that emerged in Harlem in the mid-1980s, which drew African American and Latino gay and transgender communities to compete against one another for their dancing skills, the verisimilitude of their drag and their ability to walk on the runway. Photographer Chantal Regnault spent many years recording this scene, from which the dance style known as voguing arose. A visual riot of fashion, polysexuality and subversive style, Voguing and the Gay Balls of New York City is also an extraordinary document on sexuality and race. The wild years of voguing are vividly captured in Regnault's hundreds of amazing, previously unpublished photographs. The book also features interviews with key figures from the movement, essays, flyers and ephemera. Photographer and documentarist Chantal Regnault was born in France. She left Paris after the 1968 uprisings to live in New York, where she lived for the next 15 years. At the end of the 1980s she became immersed in Harlem's voguing scene. Also around this time, Regnault developed an interest in Haitian voodoo culture and began to divide her time between Haiti and New York. Her widely published photographs have appeared in major magazines and newspapers, including Vanity Fair and The New York Times.
Published by Badlands Unlimited. By Aruna D'Souza.
Aruna D'Souza takes an unflinching look at art and race in America via three incendiary recent historical examples, 1969-2017, in this timely and widely reviewed reader from Paul Chan's pioneering small press, Badlands Unlimited. Called "a laser beam of a book, unwavering and on target," by The New York Times and "an essential primer in discussions about exclusion, free speech and the power of institutions in the art world and outside it," by Publishers Weekly, this volume has been reviewed, course adopted, sold and passed around just about everywhere that matters.