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Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Six art books to read this June

In our 2021 special edition celebrating Juneteenth, scientist Leigh Raiford spoke with Hyperallergic Editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian on the versatile possibilities of photography, especially by black artists. “It never serves a single function,” she explained. “It’s a document, it’s performance, it’s surveillance, it’s violence; it is speculative and fictional, it is ambition, it is consolation.” We’ve collected six photography and art books that provide entry points into the history of this growing grid of black American artistry, focusing on the changing role of the camera as a means of self-determination, opacity, and expression. Check out these titles through Black-owned bookstores near you, including Adanne in Brooklyn, Marcus Books in Oakland, and Black Pearl Books in Austin. Enjoy reading and happy Juneteenth!


The New Black West: Photos from America’s Only Touring Black Rodeo by Gabriela Hasbun

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, the only touring black rodeo in the country. Photographer Gabriela Hasbun The new black west is a tribute to the organization and the community it has cultivated over the years, across generations and regions in celebration of Black cowboy culture and with a foreword by the rodeo’s Bay Area coordinator, Jeff Douvel. Tender snapshots of parents embracing their children, a cowgirl and her horse, and rodeo host David Hammons’ African American flag are among a trove of photographs that offer a glimpse into the spirit of the Black Western rodeo, which has long been appropriated by mainstream white narratives. of the American South.

Read the report | Buy at Bookstore | Chronicle Books, 2022


Art on my mind: visual politics by bell hooks

The legacy of the late critic and scholar bell hooks looms large in all creative disciplines, and visual arts are no exception. Though celebrated for her Love song for the nation trilogy (1999-2001) and theorization of white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, hooks’s 1995 Art in my mind combines her academic interests with a focus on black American artists. She brings the practices of artists such as Alison Saar, Emma Amos and Margo Humphrey into conversation with her political and aesthetic interests, often revealing as much about her as about the artists themselves. Her introduction sets out the explicitly political commitment of her collection of essays and invites us into her view of ‘the radical place that art occupies within the freedom struggle and of the way in which experiencing art can increase our understanding of what it means to live as free to live. subjects in an unfree world.”

Buy at Bookstore | The New Press, 1995


The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson and Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party by Ericka Huggins and Stephen Shames

The Black Panther Party’s multifaceted approach to community organizing embodied this term in its truest sense and included protest, children’s, education, and free food programs. Comics artists David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson chronologize the party’s history in a brilliantly illustrated graphic novel, beginning with the precursors of the Civil Rights Movement and continuing through its decline in the late 1980s.

Meanwhile, party leader Ericka Huggins tells the history of women in the organization Comrade Sisters, which combines her reflections with the introspective photographs of Stephen Shames. Read together, these two books complement each other in demystifying the radical politics and imagination of the oft-mythologized activist group.

To buy The Black Panther Party And Comrade Sisters on Bookstore | Ten Speed ​​Press, 2021 and ACC Art Books, 2022


A Vision for Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer

In a 2018 interview with Hyperallergiccurator and photographer Deborah Willis discussed the founding of the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University, an outgrowth of her previous work and collaboration with historian Barbara Krauthamer on the publication Emancipation in mind. This comprehensive study brings together more than 150 images from the years before the abolition of slavery through the 1930s, tearing open archival cracks to shine a light on Black Americans documenting their freedom, community, and self-respect through the photographic lens.

Buy at Bookstore | Temple University Press, 2012


Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographersedited by Brian Piper

Rooted in a 2022-2023 exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Called to the camera builds on previous work – including that of Willis and Krauthamer – to shape the world of black American studio photography to this day. Portraits of household names like James Van Der Zee appear alongside those of unsung artists, including New Orleans portrait photographer Florestine Perrault Collins. Essays that contextualize the wealth of images accompany crisply reproduced photographs, which guide us on a journey through the church gatherings and sporting events of everyday life, and through pivotal figures in black American history, including Eartha Kitt (who teaches a dance class), Booker T. Washington (posed on his favorite horse, Dexter) and Frederick Douglass (sitting next to his grandson).

Buy at Bookstore | New Orleans Art Museum, 2023