Encyclopedia of African American Artists

Encyclopedia of African American Artists

Encyclopedia of African American Artists

Encyclopedia of African American Artists

Synopsis

African American heritage is rich with stories of family, community, faith, love, adaptation and adjustment, grief, and suffering, all captured in a variety of media by artists intimately familiar with them. From traditional media of painting and artists such as Horace Pippin and Faith Ringgold, to photography of Gordon Parks, and new media of Sam Gilliam and Martin Puryear (installation art), the African American experience is reflected across generations and works. Eight pages of color plates and black and white images throughout the book introduce both favorite and new artists to students and adult readers alike.

African American heritage is rich with stories of family, community, faith, love, adaptation and adjustment, grief, and suffering, all captured in a variety of media by artists intimately familiar with them. From traditional media of painting and artists such as Horace Pippin and Faith Ringgold, to photography of Gordon Parks, and new media of Sam Gilliam and Martin Puryear (installation art), the African American experience is reflected across generations and works. Eight pages of color plates and black and white images throughout the book introduce both favorite and new artists to students and adult readers alike.

A sampling of the artists included: Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Achamyele Debela, and Melvin Edwards.

Excerpt

One of the primary objectives of Encyclopedia of African American Artists is to bring together, in one volume, black artists from the African Diaspora who have worked and lived, or continue to do so, in the United States. Comprised of 66 artists who work in a diverse array of media and manifest an even more diverse range of ideas, this book places at the disposal of students of art and culture the significant contributions of a category of artists who have made profound contributions to world art and enriched the creative fabric of American culture, but about whom much more remains unwritten and unexplored than has been published. Writing this book stemmed from the need to address the imbalance that exists in the way that black artists in the United States are presented in exhibition circuits but even more so in the literature. This imbalance is itself an outcome of the reluctance—some might even say condescension—of the art world to accord equal respect to all art, regardless of the racial origin of the artists.

There is a correlation between the frequency with which artists are granted access to dominant exhibition and gallery spaces and the volume of literature that is generated. Critical or biographic narratives about artists are, in turn, essential in shaping public awareness, perception, and appreciation of the works of artists, just as they are in empowering individuals to become more independent in the way that they formulate personal aesthetic preferences. Attempts at bringing the works of black artists to public attention have occurred on two important platforms. First, exhibitions and attendant catalogs provide perhaps the most intimate encounter with artists, especially if they give in their own words information about the philosophical or doctrinal basis for their work. the inherent disadvantage to this desirable aspect pertains to the potential unevenness in the quality and content of some exhibition catalogs, in addition to the limited circulation that many such catalogs have.

The second avenue through which the public becomes exposed to the work of black artists is publications either in journals or, more especially, books. One must acknowledge the impact of technology in this regard. the Internet offers a fluid, seamless field for generating and disseminating information within a relatively short pace in addition to having the power to reach a global audience with relatively minimum constraints. Personal Web pages and . . .

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