Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition
Written by Valerie Cassel Oliver and Adrienne L. Childs and Renee Maurer, Foreword by Dorothy Kosinski
A timely consideration of African-American artists' rich engagement with the history of art from the twentieth century.
Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition presents works by African American artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries together with works by the early-twentieth-century European artists with whom they engaged. Black artists have investigated, interrogated, invaded, entangled, annihilated, or immersed themselves in the aesthetics, symbolism, and ethos of European art for more than a century. The powerful push and pull of this relationship constitutes a distinct tradition for many African American artists who source the master narratives of art history to critique, embrace, or claim their own space. This groundbreaking catalog--accompanying a major exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.--explores the connections and frictions around modernism in the works of artists such as Romare Bearden, Pablo Picasso, Faith Ringgold, Renee Cox, Robert Colescott, Norman Lewis, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems and Henri Matisse. The volume explores how blackness has often been conceived from the standpoint of these international and intergenerational connections and presents the divergent and complex works born of these important dialogues.
About The Author
Adrienne L. Childs is an associate of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. Renée Maurer is an associate curator at the Phillips Collection, in Washington, D.C. Valerie Cassel Oliver is the curator of modern and contemporary art at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond. Dorothy Kosinski is the Vradenburg Director & CEO of the Phillips Collection.