1971: A Year in the Life of Color (Hardback)
  • 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (Hardback)
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1971: A Year in the Life of Color (Hardback)

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£30.00
Hardback 312 Pages / Published: 10/02/2017
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Art historian Darby English is celebrated for working against the grain and plumbing gaps in historical narratives. In this book, he explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of black cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, an integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.1971 takes an insightful look at many black artists' desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their and their advocates' efforts to further that aim through public exhibitions. Amid calls to define a "black aesthetic" or otherwise settle the race question, these experiments with modernist art favored cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight. The power and social importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color's special status as a racial metaphor and partly from investigations of color that were underway in formalist American art and criticism. From Frank Bowling to Virginia Jaramillo, Sam Gilliam to Peter Bradley, black modernists and their supporters rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for racial reconciliation. At a time when many debates about identity sought closure, these exhibitions offered openings; when icons and slogans touted simple solutions, they chose difficulty. But above all, as English demonstrates in this provocative book, these exhibitions and artists responded with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture's preoccupation with color.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226131054
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 1134 g
Dimensions: 229 x 178 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
More than a study of African American engagement with modernist aesthetics, Darby English s 1971: A Year in the Life of Color is an intelligent and provocative call for the necessity of abstraction, idiosyncrasy, and unexpected forms of rebellion in the production of art and the development of cultural studies. English crosses the most sacrosanct ideological boundaries as he argues for the necessity of untamed and previously unimagined forms of creativity. --Robert F. Reid-Pharr, CUNY Graduate Center"
1971: A Year in the Life of Coloris a powerful, polemical, and much-needed work. It forces us to rethink the terms of politics and abstraction, African American art, representation, and modernism in a way that is at once historically rigorous and theoretically expansive, no small thing indeed. --Pamela M. Lee, Stanford University"
What is more urgently demanded, for current art and its histories, than the rethinking of how activism, identity, and art interact? Perhaps only an understanding of the particular complexity of black American identity, which in 1971: A Year in the Life of Colorreveals a radical oppositionality within modernism that many had already given up on. Profoundly lucid, intensely felt, archivally deep, and utterly persuasive, English s book reorients our understanding of boththat time and our own. --Rachel Haidu, University of Rochester"
"More than a study of African American engagement with modernist aesthetics, Darby English's 1971: A Year in the Life of Color is an intelligent and provocative call for the necessity of abstraction, idiosyncrasy, and unexpected forms of rebellion in the production of art and the development of cultural studies. English crosses the most sacrosanct ideological boundaries as he argues for the necessity of untamed and previously unimagined forms of creativity."--Robert F. Reid-Pharr, CUNY Graduate Center
"1971: A Year in the Life of Color is a powerful, polemical, and much-needed work. It forces us to rethink the terms of politics and abstraction, African American art, representation, and modernism in a way that is at once historically rigorous and theoretically expansive, no small thing indeed."--Pamela M. Lee, Stanford University
"What is more urgently demanded, for current art and its histories, than the rethinking of how activism, identity, and art interact? Perhaps only an understanding of the particular complexity of black American identity, which in 1971: A Year in the Life of Color reveals a radical oppositionality within modernism that many had already given up on. Profoundly lucid, intensely felt, archivally deep, and utterly persuasive, English's book reorients our understanding of both that time and our own."--Rachel Haidu, University of Rochester
-More than a study of African American engagement with modernist aesthetics, Darby English's 1971: A Year in the Life of Color is an intelligent and provocative call for the necessity of abstraction, idiosyncrasy, and unexpected forms of rebellion in the production of art and the development of cultural studies. English crosses the most sacrosanct ideological boundaries as he argues for the necessity of untamed and previously unimagined forms of creativity.---Robert F. Reid-Pharr, CUNY Graduate Center
-1971: A Year in the Life of Color is a powerful, polemical, and much-needed work. It forces us to rethink the terms of politics and abstraction, African American art, representation, and modernism in a way that is at once historically rigorous and theoretically expansive, no small thing indeed.---Pamela M. Lee, Stanford University
-What is more urgently demanded, for current art and its histories, than the rethinking of how activism, identity, and art interact? Perhaps only an understanding of the particular complexity of black American identity, which in 1971: A Year in the Life of Color reveals a radical oppositionality within modernism that many had already given up on. Profoundly lucid, intensely felt, archivally deep, and utterly persuasive, English's book reorients our understanding of both that time and our own.---Rachel Haidu, University of Rochester

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