BOOK REPORT CHARTS recently published art books. The four titles featured here explore the work of African African contemporary artists Whitfield Lovell, Rashid Johnson, and Shinique Smith through recent and current exhibitions.

 

whitfield-lovell-kin-cover

“Whitfield Lovell: Kin,” with contributions by Sarah Lewis, Julie L McGee, Klaus Ottmann and Elsa Smithgall, and an introduction by Irving Sandler (Skira Rizzoli, 224 pages). | Published Oct. 4, 2016

“Whitfield Lovell: Kin”

Images of anonymous African Americans rendered from vintage photographs form the basis of Whitfield Lovell‘s practice, a sustained exploration of the black experience. Two presentations in Washington, D.C., “The Card Series II: The Rounds,” a 54-part installation in the visual art gallery of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and “Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works,” a traveling exhibition that debuted this month at the Phillips Collection, have brought new attention to his work. This monograph coincides with the exhibition and features “a sumptuously reproduced portfolio” of Lovell’s “Kin” series, along with contributions by the exhibition’s curator Elsa Smithgall, and Sarah Lewis, among others.

 

rashid-johnson-anxious-men

“Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men,” with contributions by Claire Gilman, Jeremy Sigler, and Cheryl Johnson-Odim (The Drawing Center, 51 pages). | Published Sept. 27, 2016

“Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men”

Chicago-born, New York-based artist Rashid Johnson explores race and political identity, and more recently anxiety. To express himself, he often returns to a common set of materials—black soap, shea butter, books and plants—that mine the Afrocentric values of his parents. This volume documents a series of black-soap-and-wax-on-tile portraits he created for an exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York, scrawled images he multiplied for larger scale works currently on view in “Fly Away,” his solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York, through Oct. 22.

 

rashid-johnson-new-work-cover

“Rashid Johnson: New Work,” edited by Ruth Addison and Kate Fowle, with an introduction by Anton Belov, and text by Fowle and Rashid Johnson (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 80 pages). | Published Oct. 25, 2016

“Rashid Johnson: New Work”

Another volume available now, “Rashid Johnson: New Work,” complements his exhibition at the Garage Museum in Moscow where “Within Our Gates,” a large installation constructed with black architectural grid work was on view. The new reprint explores the creation of the immersive eco-system and includes an interview with Rashid Johnson by curator Kate Fowle. Considering notions of race, class and culture through a lens of history and fiction, the living installation draws connections between seemingly disparate objects—books on black history and society, plants potted in containers made by the artist, shea butter and other objects. In Moscow, video was central to the work. In its latest iteration, in Johnson’s “Fly Away” exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York, music is at its core. Titled “Antoine’s Organ,” for his largest work to date, Johnson commissioned pianist Antoine Baldwin to sit high up in the center of the installation playing jazz on an upright piano.

 

shinique-smith-cover-oct-2016

“Shinique Smith: Wonder and Rainbows,” edited by Kathryn E. Delmez (Vanderbilt – Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 136 pages). | Published Oct. 18, 2016

“Shinique Smith: Wonder and Rainbows”

A nexus of color, material, and ideas, the work of Brooklyn-based Shinique Smith includes sculptures formed with old clothing and energetic, expressive paintings that conjure wonder and rainbows. Her inspirations are both personal and societal from the culture of consumption and the impact of discarded objects to graffiti, Japanese calligraphy, fashion, music, spirituality and poetry. This volume accompanies an exhibition of the same title that was on view at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, and features images, an artist statement and interview conducted by curator Jen Mergel. Beyond the page, Smith is coordinating a group photo of women artists at the Brooklyn Museum Oct. 23. Also, “Resonant Tides” her mural installation sponsored by the Aspen Art Museum, is on view through September 2017.