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 David Zwirner Books/Victoria Miro. By Hilton Als. Foreword by Jeremy Lewison.
Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als on Alice Neel’s quietly political portraits of her uptown New York neighbors
Known for her portraits of family, friends, writers, poets, artists, students, singers, salesmen, activists and more, Alice Neel (1900–84) created forthright, intimate and, at times, humorous paintings that quietly engaged with political and social issues. In Alice Neel, Uptown, writer and curator Hilton Als brings together a body of paintings and works on paper of African Americans, Latinos, Asians and other people of color for the first time. Highlighting the innate diversity of Neel’s approach, the selection looks at those often left out of the art-historical canon and how this extraordinary painter captured them; “what fascinated her was the breadth of humanity that she encountered,” Als writes.
The publication explores Neel’s interest in the diversity of uptown New York and the variety of people among whom she lived. This group of portraits includes well-known figures such as playwright, actress and author Alice Childress, the sociologist Horace R. Cayton, Jr., the community activist Mercedes Arroyo; and the widely published academic Harold Cruse, alongside more anonymous individuals of a nurse, a ballet dancer, a taxi driver, a businessman and a local boy who ran errands for Neel.
In short and illuminating texts on specific works written in his characteristic narrative style, Als writes about the history of each sitter and offers insights into Neel and her work, while adding his own perspective. A contemporary and personal approach to the artist’s oeuvre, Als’ project is “an attempt to honor not only what Neel saw, but the generosity of her seeing.”
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 Worcester Art Museum. Foreword by David P. Angel, Matthias Waschek. Text by Nancy Kathryn Burns, Janette Thomas Greenwood, Frank J. Morrill.
An invaluable record of African American lives in the aftermath of Emancipation and Reconstruction
This book presents a photographic narrative of African American and Native American migration and resettlement in the aftermath of Emancipation and Reconstruction. Taken between 1897 and 1917 by itinerant photographer William Bullard of Worcester, Massachusetts, these photographs address larger themes involving race in American history, many of which remain relevant today: the story of people of color claiming their rightful place in society and creating a community in new surroundings.
William Bullard’s heretofore unpublished collection of more than 230 glass negatives presenting the African American and Nipmuc communities of Worcester, Massachusetts, at the turn of the century provides an exceptional opportunity to significantly deepen our understanding of the use of photography at a political and personal level. Unlike most extant photographic collections of black Americans taken in this period, the subjects in Bullard’s photographs are identified in his logbook, allowing this book to tell specific stories about individuals and re-create a more accurate historical context.
In addition, though most publications engaging with African American history focus on the Gilded Age or the Civil Rights eras, this collection of Bullard’s photographs exposes a critical gap in many visual histories. Predating the Great Migration, these photographs portray a moment seldom stressed in the historical narrative, replacing stereotypical notions of poverty and dysfunction with accomplishment and respectability.
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. Foreword by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Brett Abbott. Introduction by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Text by Maurice Berger.
In September 1956, Life magazine published a photo-essay by Gordon Parks entitled "The Restraints: Open and Hidden," which documented the everyday activities and rituals of one extended African American family living in the rural South under Jim Crow segregation. One of the most powerful photographs depicts Joanne Thornton Wilson and her niece, Shirley Anne Kirksey, standing in front of a theater in Mobile, Alabama, an image which became a forceful "weapon of choice," as Parks would say, in the struggle against racism and segregation. While 26 photographs were eventually published in Life and some were exhibited in his lifetime, the bulk of Parks' assignment was thought to be lost. In 2011, five years after Parks' death, The Gordon Parks Foundation discovered more than 70 color transparencies at the bottom of an old storage bin marked "Segregation Series" that are now published for the first time in Segregation Story.
Published by Steidl. Foreword by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. Introduction by Isabel Wilkerson. Text by Karen Haas.
The first African American photographer to be hired full time by Life magazine, Gordon Parks was often sent on assignments involving social issues that his white colleagues were not asked to cover. In 1950 he returned on one such assignment to his hometown of Fort Scott in southeastern Kansas: he was to provide photographs for a piece on segregated schools and their impact on black children in the years prior to Brown v. Board of Education. Parks intended to revisit early memories of his birthplace, many involving serious racial discrimination, and to discover what had become of the 11 members of his junior high school graduation class since his departure 20 years earlier. But when he arrived only one member of the class remained in Fort Scott, the rest having followed the well-worn paths of the Great Migration in search of better lives in urban centers such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbus and Chicago. Heading out to those cities Parks found his friends and their families and photographed them on their porches, in their parlors and dining rooms, on their way to church and working at their jobs, and interviewed them about their decision to leave the segregated system of their youth and head north. His resulting photo essay was slated to appear in Life in the spring of 1951, but was ultimately never published. This book showcases the 80-photo series in a single volume for the first time, offering a sensitive and visually arresting view of our country's racialized history. Gordon Parks (1912–2006) was born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas. The self-taught photographer also found success as a film director, author and composer. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts and over 50 honorary degrees.
Published by Steidl. Edited by Thelma Golden, Elizabeth Gwinn, Lauren Haynes. Foreword by Raymond J. McGuire.
A Harlem Family 1967 honors the legacy and the work of late iconic artist and photojournalist Gordon Parks, who would have turned 100 on November 30, 2012. The exhibition catalogue is co-published by The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Gordon Parks Foundation and features approximately 80 black-and-white photographs of the Fontenelle family, whose lives Gordon Parks documented as part of a 1968 Life magazine photo essay. A searing portrait of poverty in the United States, the Fontenelle photographs provide a view of Harlem through the narrative of a specific family at a particular moment in time.
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.