From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden celebrates the etchings, aquatints, collagraphs, photo projections, lithographs, and screenprints of one of America’s most important twentieth-century artists. More than seventy-five full-color reproductions demonstrate Bearden’s printmaking process as he worked and reworked particular images, themes, and techniques; illuminate how his thinking and approaches were shaped through collaborations with master printmakers, especially Robert Blackburn; and evidence Bearden’s extraordinary facility for weaving into every art form a rich tapestry of literary, biblical, mythological, popular-culture, and Western and non-Western themes shaped by his African American cultural experiences.
Thom Collins, Tracy Fitzpatrick, Michelle Wallace, Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold (born 1930) is famed today as the progenitor of the African-American story-quilt revival of the late 1970s, but her story begins much earlier, with her “American People Series” of 1963. These once influential paintings, and the many political posters and murals she created throughout the 1960s, have largely disappeared from view, being routinely omitted from art historical discourse over the past 40 years. “American People, Black Light” is the first examination of Ringgold’s earliest radical and pioneering explorations of race, gender and class. Undertaken to address the social upheavals of the 1960s, these are the works through which Ringgold found her political voice. “American People, Black Light” offers not only clear insight into a critical moment in American history, but also a clear account of what it meant to be an African American woman making her way as an artist at that time.
In paintings, murals, and book illustrations, Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) produced the most powerful visual legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, prompting the philosopher and writer Alain Locke to dub him the “Father of Black American Art.” Working from a politicized concept of personal identity and a utopian vision of the future, the artist made a lasting impact on American art history and on the nation’s cultural heritage. Douglas’s role, as well as that of the Harlem Renaissance in general, in the evolution of American modernism deserves close scholarly attention, which it finally receives in this beautifully illustrated book. Douglas combined Egyptian ideology with angular Cubist rhythms and seductive Art Deco dynamism in portraying African and African American imagery. The result was a radically new utopian visual vocabulary that evoked both current realities and hopes for a better future. Presenting more than ninety illustrations of Douglas’s works and the commentary of leading critics and historians, this book focuses on the artist’s career from the 1920s through the 1940s in relation to American modernism. Its authors argue that Douglas’s bold work opened doors for African American artists in Harlem and beyond, and that it invited a dialogue with modernism that put African American life, labor, and freedom, along with African traditions and motifs, at its center. New information emerges from these pages, reflecting the rich interchange between the visual arts, music, dance, literature, and politics that shaped Douglas’s work and also defined the Harlem Renaissance.
Beginning with his first published print in 1963, Jacob Lawrence produced a body of prints that is both highly dramatic and intensely personal. This new edition of Jacob Lawrence: Thirty Years of Prints (1963-1993) includes 19 new prints produced by Lawrence since 1993, including 7 from the Toussaint L’Ouverture series. The book includes an essay by Patricia Hills.
In his graphic work, as in his paintings, Lawrence turned to the lessons of history and to his own experience. From depictions of civil rights confrontations to scenes of daily life, these images present a vision of a common struggle toward unity and equality, a universal struggle seated in the depths of the human consciousness.
On the eve of the Civil Rights Movement, while struggling to survive the emotional vacuum of his family, young Gray March escapes into the safe and magical world of his grandmother Makeda’s tiny parlor. There his life is transformed by his visits to the aging matriarch, a woman blind since birth but who has always dreamed in color. She begins to confide in Gray the things she “sees” and remembers from her dream state, and a story starts to emerge, a story that becomes increasingly more detailed, layered with descriptions and historical accuracy beyond the scope of Makeda’s elementary school education. Gradually, Gray begins to make a connection . . . a connection between his grandmother’s dream and the epic life of an African queen described in the Bible. . .
Part coming-of-age story, part spiritual journey, and part love story, Makeda is a universal tale of family, heritage, and the ties that bind. It is about the people who help to shape and mold us, and lead us into the light. Appealing to the deepest sense of who we are, Randall Robinson plumbs the hearts of grandmother Makeda and her grandson, Gray, and summons our collective blood memories, taking the reader on an unforgettable journey of the soul that will linger long after the last page has been turned.