Considering African American Art in the International Arena

W 2:30-5:25PM

From the post war period to the present day, ‘American’ and ‘African American’art have played key but often different roles in the international arena. Major international touring exhibitions of American art and subsequent seminal international exhibitions characteristically bypassed many key African American artists. These exhibitions included ‘Modern Art in the United States: A selection from the Museum of Modern Art, New York’, 1956, and ‘The New American Painting’ 1959. At the height of the American civil rights movement, ‘Ten Negro Artists from the United States’ was staged at First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar, Senegal, in 1966. This exhibition was the first to present African American art as a distinct group, although they already had an enduring presence within the international arena, dating back to the early nineteenth century.
This course examines the role and significance of African American art in international arena and is of particular relevance to those interested in visual knowledge and identity constellations. The course considers the pivotal role museums have played in Europe and further afield in making African American art both integral to and distinct from concepts of American art. Through the prisms of race, cultural politics and art criticism, the course will examine historical and contemporary exhibitions, such as those on the ‘Black Arts Movement’, ‘Black Atlantic’ and ‘Black Power’ and the career paths of mid-century and contemporary artists. The seminars will explore the extent to which the international arena, in its various guises, has been and continues to be a catalyst for shaping and interpreting African American art.

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Richard Hylton

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Course Category

Category B: Disciplines and Intellectual Movements

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