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14 Best Black Art Books of 2017

Updated: Oct 11, 2018

By Victoria L. Valentine

via Culture Type

SOME OF THE BEST ART BOOKS published this year focus on the past and the present. Exhibition catalogs such as “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85” and “Soul of a “Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” and the scholarly publication “South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s,” document the Black Arts Movement and the artists and works that defined the period. The activities of that era provided a path for the increasingly influential voices and innovative practices of new generations of contemporary artists working today, figures such as Nina Chanel Abney, Mark Bradford, and Adam Pendleton, whose recent publications are also among the best of 2017. Featuring work by and about people of African descent, the following Culture Type Picks are exceptional volumes.


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It’s been a banner year for Nina Chanel Abney, a relatively young artist known for her provocative, politically charged paintings articulating the complexities of contemporary society. She presented her first solo museum exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in 2017 and her inaugural exhibitions at Jack Shainman Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery are currently on view in New York. This catalog, another first, documents the Nasher show, a 10-year survey exploring the arc of her practice which has evolved from a more painterly style to decidedly emphatic approach, mixing figuration and abstraction with a riot of bold color, symbols, and meaning. Illustrated with full-color images of her paintings throughout, this publication includes a preface by Richard Powell, contributions from Marshall N. Price and Natalie Y. Moore, and a great conversation between Abney and curator Jamillah James of ICA Los Angeles (Read full article).

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