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."
Esther Adler is Assistant Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
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.
The emergence of a social conscience in rarely seen images from Parks' formative years
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.
Jack Whitten was one of the most important artists of his generation. His paintings range from figurative work addressing civil rights in the 1960s to groundbreaking experimentation with abstraction in the '70s, '80s and '90s to recent work memorializing black historical figures such as James Baldwin and W.E.B. Du Bois.
Whitten began carving wood in the 1960s in order to understand African sculpture, both aesthetically and in terms of his own identity as an African American, and continued developing this practice throughout his life. For the first time ever, these revelatory works are collected in Odyssey, accompanying a landmark exhibition coorganized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Odyssey features the sculptures made by Whitten over the past 50 years, as well as the Black Monolith series of paintings, and Whitten's own archival photographs documenting his life and process. The catalog includes major new texts from exhibition curators Katy Siegel and Kelly Baum, as well as contributions from philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, art historians Richard Shiff and Kellie Jones, a lengthy biographical interview with Whitten by art historian Courtney J. Martin and the essay "Why Do I Carve Wood?" by the artist himself.
Gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of illustrations and never-before-published photographs, Odyssey is a landmark exploration of one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, and a monument to a life and career that, as described by the Washington Post, "enriched the abstract tradition in Western art with fresh political and spiritual content."
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
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 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 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
Published by Badlands Unlimited. By Aruna D'Souza.
In 2017, the Whitney Biennial included a painting by a white artist, Dana Schutz, of the lynched body of a young black child, Emmett Till. In 1979, anger brewed over a show at New York’s Artists Space entitled The Nigger Drawings. In 1969, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Harlem on My Mind did not include a single work by a black artist. In all three cases, black artists and writers and their allies organized vigorous responses using the only forum available to them: public protest.
Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts reflects on these three incidents in the long and troubled history of art and race in America. It lays bare how the art world—no less than the country at large—has persistently struggled with the politics of race, and the ways this struggle has influenced how museums, curators and artists wrestle with notions of free speech and the specter of censorship. Whitewalling takes a critical and intimate look at these three “acts” in the history of the American art scene and asks: when we speak of artistic freedom and the freedom of speech, who, exactly, is free to speak?
Aruna D’Souza writes about modern and contemporary art, food and culture; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics; how museums shape our views of each other and the world; and books. Her work appears regularly in 4Columns.org, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board, as well as in publications including the Wall Street Journal, ARTnews, Garage, Bookforum, Momus and Art Practical. D'Souza is the editor of the forthcoming Making it Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader.