The second book in a three-volume series on Black American artists, featuring work from the 1950s to the 1970s that responded to the cultural, political, and social concerns of the era
During the turbulent 1950s to 1970s, Black American artists, responding to increasing civil rights activism, challenged inequities in the art world. Artists created works that celebrated their racial identity, connected with Black audiences, and participated in the struggle for political, economic, and social equality. The establishment of artist collectives, such as Spiral, and museums devoted to Black art, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, alongside the emergence of art historians and critics such as David Driskell and Linda Goode Bryant, marked early steps to bring Black art into broader artistic discourse.
The book features 140 color illustrations of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by such celebrated artists as Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Howardena Pindell, and Alma Thomas, as well as by under-recognized artists. Essays provide an overview of the period and in-depth examinations of James A. Porter, an artist and art historian credited with establishing the field of African American art history, and Merton D. Simpson, an abstract painter, member of the Spiral group, and one of the most important dealers of African art in the United States.
Published in association with the Dixon Gallery and Gardens
Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis (October 22, 2023–January 14, 2024)
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento (February 4–May 19, 2024)
Earnestine Jenkins is professor of art history at the University of Memphis and author of Black Artists in America: From the Great Depression to Civil Rights (2022), the first volume in this series. Celeste-Marie Bernier specializes in studies of the African Diaspora at the University of Edinburgh. Alaina Simone is an artist liaison and consultant.
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