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The African diaspora – a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade and Western colonialism – has generated a wide array of artistic achievements, from blues and reggae, to the paintings of the pioneering African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner and video creations of contemporary hip-hop artists. Black Art concentrates on how these works, often created during times of major social upheaval and transformation, use black culture both as a subject and as context. From musings on “the souls of black folk” in late nineteenth-century art, to questions of racial and cultural identities in performance, media, and computer-assisted arts in the twenty-first century, this book examines the philosophical and social forces that have shaped a black presence in modern and contemporary visual culture.

Now updated, this new edition helps us understand better how the first two decades of the twenty-first century have been a transformative moment in which previous assumptions about race, difference, and identity have been irrevocably altered, with art providing a useful lens through which to think about these compelling issues.

  • With 218 illustrations in colour
  • By Richard J. Powell 
  • Publisher name: Thames and Hudson Ltd
  • Publication date: 31 August 2021
  • 360 pages
  • Paperback book
  • Measures approximately 15.2 x 20.9 cm

Richard J. Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, where he has taught since 1989. His publications include: The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism; Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture; Going There: Black Visual Satire; and Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson. From 2007 until 2010, Powell was Editor-in-Chief of The Art Bulletin.