Monday, October 1, 2012

Black Art Project (BAP) Booklist 4

This fourth list, in a continuing series, highlights recently published books that have an African American art focus. As stated in earlier releases,  identifying titles as they are recently published or in pre-publication status is crucial for those building a library that has some focus on African American art. Because of small print runs of these titles, it is advisable to purchase them shortly after they have been published to assure yourself that the titles that you are interested in have not gone out of print. When a title does go out of print, the secondary market becomes a viable option; however, you must then weigh cost and condition differences among the few dealers that may have a copy for sale.

The following post and the addendum of recent publications are simply a few new titles that have been released since the last Booklist:      

Image reproduced from Anthology.

Clifford Owens: Anthology is a forthcoming MoMA PS1 imprint that is scheduled for release on 11/30/12. Clifford Owens "has long been aware that the history of African-American art remains largely unwritten. Rather than rectifying the oversight in scholarly terms, Owens has created an unprecedented artistic project, a compendium of African-American performance art that is both highly personal and thoroughly historical."  

Anthology brings together final artworks (solicited from fellow African-American artists) that resulted from the performances at MoMA PS1. It will feature essays by art historians Huey Copeland, John Bowles, and MoMA PS1 assistant curator Christopher Y. Lew. Also included will be a round-table discussion with selected Anthology artists moderated by art historian Kellie Jones. 

(Image from Anthology: Senga Knight, 2011 (detail), 2 C-prints.)

Gary Simmons: Paradise is the first publication to offer a comprehensive overview of Simmons' multifarious career. A career that includes photographs, installations, sculpture, paintings, drawings, and public projects "exploring the visual language of our social and cultural landscape as they touch on symbols and themes that range from poetic longing to the vernacular of the inner city."

Paradise includes 150 reproductions with an introduction by Okwui Enwezor, and text by Gwen Allen, Nancy Princenthal, and Charles Wylie. To many of the readers, Simmons is identified with his wall drawings, or erasure drawings; this book shares the fuller scope of his body of works. On a personal level, Simmons' Duck, Duck, Noose was a visceral introduction to the 30 Americans exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery (Washington, DC); an installation that vividly brought to mind the theme of lynching and the abuse and murder that is associated with this crime. The image of the stools crowned with white hoods, encircling a hanging rope (noose) is still embedded in my memory... a powerful piece. 

Laylah Ali: The Greenhead Series is the first complete documentation of the Greenheads series by Ali, consisting of over 80 works. This is a catalogue accompanying The Greenhead Series exhibition presented by the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) on view through November 25, 2012. "Over forty of these exquisitely rendered gouache paintings—from a total of more than eighty—have been gathered from collections here and abroad to chronicle the series’ development."

"The WCMA exhibition will allow viewers to examine the evolution of Ali’s series. While the early paintings frequently focus on physically aggressive exchanges between groups of figures, these interactions are later replaced by individuals—alone or in small groups—who witness the prelude to, or aftermath of, a charged encounter. As the series continues, more and more of the figures’ anatomy is pruned away, as if the artist is examining how much can be taken out—such as arms, feet, skin color—while still communicating thought, emotion, and social status."

Laylah Ali: The Greenhead Series includes texts by art historian and critic Julia Bryan-Wilson, and poet Kevin Young, as well as an interview with the artist by curator Deborah Rothschild.

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art is a catalogue which will accompany a forthcoming exhibition of the same title at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The exhibition, which is organized by Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, will be on view November 17, 2012 through February 15, 2013.

 "This  publication provides a critical framework for discussing the history of black performance within the visual arts over the last 50 years." The exhibition will feature work by three generations of artists, including Benjamin Patterson, David Hammons, Lorraine O'Grady, Adrian Piper, Ulysses Jenkins, Carrie Mae Weems, William Pope.L, Terry Adkins, Lyle Ashton Harris, Clifford Owens, Sherman Fleming, Danny Tisdale, Kalup Linzy, Adam Pendleton, Derrick Adams, Dread Scott, Xaviera Simmons, among others. In addition, "the publication includes a DVD compilation of performance excerpts and is an essential tool for any understanding of the field."

Radical Presence includes an introduction and text by Valerie Cassel Oliver, foreword by Bill Arning, and text by Yona Backer and Naomi Beckwith.

Swann's African-American Fine Art (Sale 2290) catalogue documents the October 18, 2012 auction. The catalogue is arranged by lot number and features an image for each of the lots, including other pertinent information: artist, date of work, size, medium, provenance, where the work is signed and or dated, exhibition history, auction estimate, and etc.

Sale 2290 includes 154 lots in various media from many sought-after African-American artists, ranging from rare early 20th Century works through desirable contemporary pieces, including fine photographs. A short role call of artists included are as follows:  Beauford Delaney, Alvin Loving, Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, Dox Thrash, Robert Colescott, Allan Rohan Crite, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Rashid Johnson, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Richard Mayhew, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence, Robert S. Duncanson, Edward Bannister, Henry O. Tanner,  Eldzier Cortor, Sam Gilliam, Kara Walker, Hughie Lee-Smith, Benny Andrews, Charles White, Claude Clark, and others.

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