Shop this curated selection of impactful art books that document the essential role of contemporary Black artists in today's global cultural landscape. Titles include exhibition catalogues featuring content from traveling exhibits that have been on view at Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.
Museum of the African Diaspora (Moad)$24.95 $22.46
The book, published to accompany a traveling exhibition opening at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, explores the complexity of the “postcolonialism paradox”—in which colonizers often felt superior and productive as they claimed territory for themselves while subjugating indigenous people and exploiting their land. Whether connected to the Caribbean by birth or by choice, the artists use their work as a means of examining the relationships within the power structure. Exhibition was on view at MoAD May-August 2019.
Connie H Choi, Thelma Golden, et al.$45.00 $40.50
The artists featured in Black Refractions, including Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Nari Ward, Norman Lewis, Wangechi Mutu, and Lorna Simpson, are drawn from the renowned collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Exhibition was on view at MoAD January-April 2019.
In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite used his photography to popularize the political slogan “Black Is Beautiful.” This monograph—the first ever dedicated to Brathwaite’s remarkable career—tells the story of a key, but under-recognized, figure of the second Harlem Renaissance. Exhibition was on view at MoAD December 2019-March 2020.
Published to accompany an exhibition presented by the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, this new volume showcases the work of Eritrean-born artist Ficre Ghebreyesus. Many of the paintings featured are abstracts, studies of geometric color that highlight the artist’s delight in the material qualities of oil paint on canvas. This collection brings together more than a dozen of Ghebreyesus’ finest works, focusing on abstractly rendered and vivid painted landscapes, replete with water imagery and aquatic life. In all of these evocative, and often surreal, landscapes, the viewer senses myriad influences, from the craft markets of Eritrea to the musical polyrhythms of the black diaspora, the cultural layering speaking directly to the forces that shaped the artist’s life.
Betye Saar (born 1926) is a legend. For 60 years, she has created powerful artworks that question traditional roles and representations of African Americans and women in the US, as well as deeply personal works about her family history and spirituality. Betye Saar: Still Tickin’ considers the breadth of the artist’s career and its key themes. To contextualize Saar’s works, this volume includes writings by the artist from the 1970s to the present day as well as a recent interview with Saar in which she discusses her artistic practice and her views on history, including the current debate about police violence in the US. “My art becomes an explorer, a tracer of forgotten tribes, a seeker of sanctified visions,” explains Saar. “These works are what I leave behind.”
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.
Deborah Willis$49.95 $44.96
Long overlooked in American culture, African American beauty finally get its due in this landmark work. As a student in the 1970s, Deborah Willis came to the realization that images of black beauty, female and male, simply did not exist in the larger culture. Determined to redress this imbalance, Willis examined everything from vintage ladies’ journals to black newspapers, and started what would become a lifelong quest. With more than two hundred arresting images, many previously unpublished, Posing Beauty recovers a world many never knew existed. Historical subjects such as Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker illuminate the past; Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali take us to the civil rights era; Denzel Washington, Lil’ Kim, and Michelle Obama celebrate the present. Featuring the works of more than one hundred photographers, including Carl van Vechten, Eve Arnold, Lee Friedlander, and Carrie Mae Weems, Willis’s book not only celebrates the lives of the famous but also captures the barber shop, the bodybuilding contest, and prom night. Posing Beauty challenges our most fundamental assumptions about what it means to be “beautiful.” Dr. Deborah Willis was the keynote speaker at MoAD's Picturing Blackness Symposium February 2020.
How an eighteenth-century engraving of a slave ship became a cultural icon of black resistance, identity, and remembrance One of the most iconic images of slavery is a schematic wood engraving depicting the human cargo hold of a slave ship. First published by British abolitionists in 1788, it exposed this widespread commercial practice for what it really was--shocking, immoral, barbaric, unimaginable. Printed as handbills and broadsides, the image Cheryl Finley has termed the "slave ship icon" was easily reproduced, and by the end of the eighteenth century it was circulating by the tens of thousands around the Atlantic rim. Committed to Memory provides the first in-depth look at how this artifact of the fight against slavery became an enduring symbol of black resistance, identity, and remembrance.
Shantrelle P Lewis$35.00 $31.50
Suits that pop with loud colors and dazzling patterns, complete with a nearly ubiquitous bowtie, define the style of the new “dandy.” Described as “high-styled rebels” by author Shantrelle P. Lewis, black men with a penchant for color and refined fashion, both new and vintage, have gained popular attention in recent years, influencing mainstream fashion. But black dandyism itself is not new; originating in Enlightenment England’s slave culture, it has continued for generations in black cultures around the world. Now, set against the backdrop of hip-hop culture, this iteration of dandies is redefining what it means to be black, masculine, and fashionable. Dandy Lion presents and celebrates individual dandy personalities, designers and tailors, movements and events that define contemporary dandyism. Throughout the book, self-expression is communicated through personal style, clothing, shoes, hats, and swagger. Lewis’s carefully curated selection of contemporary photographs surveys the movement across the globe in spectacular form, with all of the vibrant patterns, electrifying colors, and fanciful poses of this brilliant style subculture.
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. 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.
Mickalene Thomas, known for her large-scale, multitextured and rhinestone-encrusted paintings of domestic interiors and portraits, identifies the photographic image as a defining touchstone for her practice. Thomas began to photograph herself and her mother as a student at Yale, studying under David Hilliard—a pivotal experience for her as an artist. This volume is the first to gather together her various approaches to photography, including portraits, collages, Polaroids and other processes. The work is a personal act of deconstruction and reappropriation.
Antwaun Sargent$50.00 $45.00
In The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion, curator and critic Antwaun Sargent addresses a radical transformation taking place in fashion and art today. The featuring of the Black figure and Black runway and cover models in the media and art has been one marker of increasingly inclusive fashion and art communities. More critically, however, the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body has been reinfused with new vitality and substance thanks to an increase in powerful images authored by an international community of Black photographers. In a richly illustrated essay, Sargent opens up the conversation around the role of the Black body in the marketplace; the cross-pollination between art, fashion, and culture in constructing an image; and the institutional barriers that have historically been an impediment to Black photographers participating more fully in the fashion (and art) industries.
The Magazine of Photography and Ideas. As the United States navigates a political moment defined by the close of the Obama era and the rise of #BlackLivesMatter activism, Aperture magazine releases “Vision & Justice,” a special issue guest edited by Sarah Lewis, the distinguished author and art historian, addressing the role of photography in the African American experience. “Vision & Justice” includes a wide span of photographic projects by such luminaries as Lyle Ashton Harris, Annie Leibovitz, Sally Mann, Jamel Shabazz, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis, as well as the brilliant voices of an emerging generation―Devin Allen, Awol Erizku, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deana Lawson and Hank Willis Thomas, among many others. These portfolios are complemented by essays from some of the most influential voices in American culture including contributions by celebrated writers, historians, and artists such as Vince Aletti, Teju Cole, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Margo Jefferson, Wynton Marsalis and Claudia Rankine.