Monday, March 30, 2009

Book of the Week: "African-American Art (Oxford History of Art)"-SHARON F. PATTON

From Publishers Weekly
Patton has written an excellent and comprehensive introduction to the historical development of African American visual art. She provides much new information on the art making of both slaves and freemen in the 18th and 19th century while later providing a broad art-historical context for black modernists. Pointing out that crafts did not necessarily precede fine art making during slavery, she examines African retentions (and Indian influences) in 18th-century black ceramics and architecture; black women and quilting; abolitionism and the rise of black landscape painters like Robert Duncanson; and sculptor Edmonia Lewis's black expatriate neoclassicism. Turning to generally better- documented 20th-century black artists, Patton arguably provides the first clear discussion of the relationship (both social and aesthetic) of black modernists to the prevailing mainstream artists and art movements of their time. As is perhaps inevitable, Patton's discussion of the contemporary art scene, while quite competent, is defined as much by the artists she fails to mention as by those she chooses to include. Well researched, scrupulously documented and organized, this lucidly written, fully illustrated book also includes numerous useful sidebars defining art movements, issues or individuals.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (June 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192842137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192842138
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches

SOURCE: Amazon

Printingmaking and African-American Art with Dr. Richard J. Powell/DUKE

Richard J. Powell, professor of art at Duke University, will talk about the African American experience in graphic arts on Thursday. It’s a lecture on printmaking at Paine College Candler Memorial Library at 1:30 p.m. on April 2.

Now, if you are like me and don’t know what printmaking is, well, printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting.

Each piece produced is not a copy but considered an original since it is not a reproduction of another work of art. Printmaking is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple copies, but also for the unique qualities process creates.

Here’s a little history on Powell: He attend Morehouse and Howard University before he earned his doctorate at Yale. He’s also editor in chief of Art Bulletin.

To learn more about Richard j. Powell, visit Or go to the lecture.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Crudely drawn figures, handwritten phrases and scientific formulae are jumbled together on a multi-colored background, forming a visual cacophony of colour and shapes. The primitive and childlike images reflect Basquiat's links with graffiti art. The painting seem to be a distillation of the New York underworld of the artist's roots, evoking its multi-ethnic, hip-hop culture and reflecting the fast-moving, chaotic reality of the city's street life through a series of disconnected images and written fragments.

Basquiat was part of a loosely associated group of so-called graffiti artists, some of whom worked in New York's subways, and indeed he started his own short-lived career by daubing graffiti on public walls. His international reputation was rapidly established and rose with meteoric speed - fuelled by the art boom of the 1980s - until his death from a drug overdose at the age of 26.

SOURCE: The Art Book

The Akron Art Museum presents the Global Artistry of Leo and Diane Dillon ~ Colorful Book Illustrations

AKRON, OH - From the well loved characters of Dr. Seuss to Kadir Nelson’s historic portraits, the Akron Art Museum has a tradition of showing the work of world-renowned children’s book illustrators. This spring, the museum will continue that tradition by hosting an exhibition of work by the esteemed illustrating duo Leo and Diane Dillon, titled The Global Artistry of Leo and Diane Dillon. The exhibition will be on view March 28 – June 21, 2009 in the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery.

The husband and wife team have made an outstanding contribution to children of all cultures, producing spectacular illustrations together since 1957. Their illustrations are incredibly distinctive and all bear the couple’s trademark clean lines, innovative color use and attention to detail, as well as a warmth which radiates through each image, filling their characters with life.

The Dillons have earned many awards throughout their prolific career including two back to back Caldecott Medals for “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears” and “Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions,” four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, four Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, two Coretta Scott King Awards and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal.

The pair both attended Parsons School for Design in New York City in 1954, and upon seeing one another’s work, even before being introduced, recognized and envied the other’s talent. Upon meeting, they formed a competitive friendship, which evolved into a relationship and then a loving marriage and successful artistic partnership.

'Jadis, the White Witch' Art by Leo and Diane Dillon.In an interview with Karen Haber for Locus Magazine, Leo explains the development of their collaboration: “I’m constantly surprised at how our work is melding more and more as the years go on. In the beginning it was a conceived plan for us to work in a particular style we both could master. So in reality we were both working for someone else: the style.”

Diane goes on to explain the development of what they call the “third artist,” saying, “we could look at ourselves as one artist rather than two individuals, and that third artist was doing something neither one of us would do. We let it flow the way it flows when an artist is working by themselves and a color goes down that they didn’t quite expect and that affects the next colors they use, and it seems to have a life of its own.”

The couple’s works are essentially concerned with the shared experiences of the human condition – specifically with the idea that regardless of race and culture, “we have a lot in common. It is our beliefs that divide us. We have little control over what life brings us but we can change our thoughts.” Another facet of their works is a concern with artistic expression. “Art in its many forms has survived to inform us of lives long gone. Art inspires, lifts our spirits, and brings beauty to our lives. We wish to pay homage to it and to the people who created it.”

The exhibition’s display coincides with the 22nd annual Virginia Hamilton Conference at Kent State University. The conference, which will feature the Dillons as speakers, was established to provide a forum for the discussion of multicultural themes and issues in literature for youth. This exhibition is made possible by a generous gift from The Sisler McFawn Foundation.

Visit The Akron Art Museum at :


Saturday, March 28, 2009


APRIL 6, 2009 - 6.30 - 10.30 pm

Three Stories: Pieter Hugo, Mikhael Subotzky, and Paolo Woods at CNA

DUDELANGE, LUXEMBOURG - Centre national de l'audiovisuel (CNA) presents Three Stories: Pieter Hugo, Mikhael Subotzky, and Paolo Woods, on view through May 31, 2009. About Africa, presented by two African photographers of the post-Apartheid generation and a Dutch-Canadian photographer, seeking to give visibility to the inhabitants and to the complexity and nuances of African culture; such is the topic of the present exhibition. These young authors do not wish to exercise judgement upon the situations unfolding before their camera lenses, but instead, by revealing marginal events, to convey a sense of the values, conditions, objects and incidents of everyday life, while keeping a political eye on the changing world around them. Wishing to keep their distance from traditional photojournalism, setting little store by the rules of the mass media and refusing to apply the clichés with which the image of Africa has been imbued since the colonial period and the era of Apartheid, they are inspired of the photographic approach of artists like David Goldblatt, Roger Ballen and Guy Tillim.

Pieter Hugo - The Hyena and Other Men The Hyena and Other Men is the story of men, who in the company of hyenas, pythons and baboons, earn their living doing street performances for the crowd and selling traditional medicine. Captivated by a picture he came across in a South-African newspaper depicting men with their hyenas in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, Pieter Hugo decided to go and meet them. A few weeks later, accompanied by a local reporter, they hooked up with them in shanty town on the outskirts of Abuja, to take the road with this troupe and to get to know their fascinating world a little better. Bit by bit, he got to meet the animal merchants, with their traditional rites and strove to photograph their daily round. He quickly realized that what really interested him in this subject was the hybrid crossover of the urban and the wild and the paradoxical, often very affectionate, at other times cruel and brutal, relationship that the merchants have with their animals. Via a series of extraordinary portraits of this marginal existence taken over the space of two years (2005 to 2007), we discover a world characterized by complex relationships and interdependencies, a world which wavers between traditions, myths and modernity, domination and submission.

Mikhael Subotzky - Edition 2/9 2006 - h: 41.5 x w: 50.8 inMikhael Subotzky - Beaufort West Beaufort West is a small town in the middle of the desert, intersected by the national N1 highway, lying halfway between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and crossed every year by millions of cars. Here, as in most South African rural towns, agricultural activity has fallen off considerably from one generation to the next, causing an exodus to the big cities. Beaufort West is a desolate place. Unemployment is rife and it has a very high crime rate. Those who remain, or who return here, have been rejected everywhere else. Yet as one leaves the town centre one happens upon an amazing sight: a prison, standing in the middle of a roundabout.

Mikhael Subotzky, having already carried out several photographic projects in South African prisons, decided to spend time in Beaufort West to sketch a portrait of the town. Between 2006 and 2008, he would return there regularly, to live with the people, going out to meet them in the company of Major, a very popular guy about town. He took a particular interest in problems of marginalization, incarceration and disillusion to create an inventory of the social reality of South Africa in the post-Apartheid world.

Paolo Woods - Chinafrica In 2007, Paolo Woods set out to recount the adventure of the conquest of the African continent by the Chinese. In search of coveted raw materials - copper, uranium and timber - Beijing has sent forth its adventurous companies and entrepreneurs.

500.000 Chinese emigrants to Africa are striving to make their fortune, in a continent which the West deemed worthy of receiving only humanitarian aide. Some are managing large conglomerates, while others are selling bargain items along the roadsides of some of the world's poorest countries. Accompanied by the journalist Serge Michel, Paolo Woods criss-crossed the entire continent to encounter these two very different worlds, from the threatened forests of the Congo to the karaoke bars of Nigeria, along the pipelines of Sudan and the railroads of Angola, from the top ministries in the capitals to the devastated countryside.

Chinafrica also tells us of a bygone era. The Chinese have little in common with the former colonisers - they build roads, hospitals and schools. For the Africans, it's a new phenomenon which makes no claims of democracy or transparency, a law beyond dictatorial regimes. The images in Chinafrica are a rare and surprising portrait of an unsuspected here and now, as well as a condensed portrait of a globalized world.

Rather than scouring the continent camera in hand, seizing the moment, as it were, these artists forge personal relationships with their models, working over long periods of time, focusing on calm and "secondary" situations, switching between documentary and artistic photography while having recourse to portrait and a degree of mise en scène. The exhibition was curated by Marguy Conzémius and Michèle Walerich.