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Exploring art by and about people of African descent, primarily through the lens of books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type features original research and reporting and shares invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.

Books & Catalogs
Books on Race and Racism are Dominating Bestseller Lists and 'How to Be an Antiracist' by Ibram X. Kendi is Near the Top

Books on Race and Racism are Dominating Bestseller Lists and ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi is Near the Top

  A MUST READ FOR THE MOMENT, historian Ibram X. Kendi published “How to Be an Antiracist” last summer. Jeffrey C. Stewart, a museum veteran and biographer of Alain Locke, reviewed the volume for The New York Times. Stewart called it a “stunner of a book” and a “manual of racial ethics.” “How to Be...
10 Children's Books Tell Uplifting Stories About the Lives and Work of Black Artists Including Tyree Guyton, Frank Bowling, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Ernie Barnes

10 Children’s Books Tell Uplifting Stories About the Lives and Work of Black Artists Including Tyree Guyton, Frank Bowling, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Ernie Barnes

This week is National Children’s Book Week (May 4-10), a celebration of books and the joy of reading   RIFE WITH NARRATIVES about doing whatever it takes to overcome personal and societal challenges to pursue their dreams, the lives of artists and designers offer young readers invaluable life lessons with a dose of culture and...
Booklist: Curator and Designer Duro Olowu's 'Top 10' Includes Fela Kuti, David Hammons, Alma Thomas, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Booklist: Curator and Designer Duro Olowu’s ‘Top 10’ Includes Fela Kuti, David Hammons, Alma Thomas, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Designer Duro Olowu   A STANDARD BEARER for fashion, art, design, and style, Duro Olowu is inspired by a spectrum of individuals—cultural figures past and present, including the inimitable Grace Jones, musician and activist Fela Kuti, couturier Madame Grés (Alix Barton), and fashion designer Willi Smith. Olowu’s “Top 10” list, published in the May/June 2020...
Call and Response: Full of Drawings of Envisioned Works, Betye Saar's Sketchbooks Serve as a 'Wellspring of Creativity'

Call and Response: Full of Drawings of Envisioned Works, Betye Saar’s Sketchbooks Serve as a ‘Wellspring of Creativity’

    THE EXHIBITION CATALOG that accompanies “Betye Saar: Call and Response,” the artist’s showcase of sketchbooks and related artworks, is a real treasure. Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the traveling exhibition features sketchbooks dating from 1970 to 2015. The show represents an important milestone for Saar, given it is...
New in 2020: African American Art Books Explore the Work of Ming Smith, Noah Davis, Horace Pippin, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and More

New in 2020: African American Art Books Explore the Work of Ming Smith, Noah Davis, Horace Pippin, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and More

  DOZENS OF PUBLICATIONS documenting the work of artists of African descent are scheduled to be published this year. Volumes dedicated to Noah Davis, Jordan Casteel, and Zanele Muholi coincide with major first-time exhibitions. Others are long-awaited volumes surveying the careers of established artists, such as Ming Smith, Samuel Fosso, and Richard Mayhew. The monographs...
Curator Denise Murrell and Art Historian Darby English to Receive 2020 Book Awards From College Art Association

Curator Denise Murrell and Art Historian Darby English to Receive 2020 Book Awards From College Art Association

  THIS WEEK IN CHICAGO, the College Art Association (CAA) is holding its annual conference (Feb. 12-15). Amanda Williams, a Chicago-based artist who trained as an architect, is serving as keynote speaker. Kellie Jones will be honored during the Distinguished Scholar Session. And Huey Copeland, a professor of art history at Northwestern University and recipient...
Obama Portraits Inspire Soon-to-be-Released Book and Five-City Tour in 2021

Obama Portraits Inspire Soon-to-be-Released Book and Five-City Tour in 2021

  WHEN THE OFFICIAL PORTRAITS of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery on Feb. 12, 2018, they garnered praise and endless opinions and inspired “pilgrimages” to Washington, D.C., to view them. Now the portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have inspired a five-city national tour...
Culture Type Picks: 14 Best Black Art Books of 2019

Culture Type Picks: 14 Best Black Art Books of 2019

  BLACK ARTISTS spanning generations are receiving more and more critical recognition and opportunities. Some of the most compelling illustrated art books published in 2019 are monographs contributing to the much-deserved and in many cases long-overdue attention of individual artists. New volumes are dedicated to Kwame Braithwaite, Robert Colescott, Lubaina Himid, Suzanne Jackson, and Julie...
'Art & Race Matters': First Comprehensive Retrospective of Robert Colescott Opens at CAC Cincinnati This Week

‘Art & Race Matters’: First Comprehensive Retrospective of Robert Colescott Opens at CAC Cincinnati This Week

  BLENDING PROVOCATIVE PERSPECTIVES on race and gender relations, a unique sense of humor, knowledge of Western art history, and lived experience with American identity, culture, and traditions, Robert Colescott (1925-2009) developed an insightful and thought-provoking practice that didn’t shy away from controversial topics and images that might offend. He was an exceptional painter whose...
Ta-Nehisi Coates is Launching His First Novel 'The Water Dancer' at Apollo Theater, a Spelman Alum Illustrated the Cover

Ta-Nehisi Coates is Launching His First Novel ‘The Water Dancer’ at Apollo Theater, a Spelman Alum Illustrated the Cover

  THE NATIONAL BOOK TOUR for “The Water Dancer,” the first novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates, will kick off at the Apollo Theater on Sept. 23. Coates will be in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. The author, who testified before Congress two weeks ago about reparations for African Americans, will serve as the inaugural artist-in-residence at the...
Wil Haygood Accepts Award for 'I Too Sing America' Exhibition Catalog and Cites Longstanding Connections to Harlem

Wil Haygood Accepts Award for ‘I Too Sing America’ Exhibition Catalog and Cites Longstanding Connections to Harlem

  COLLEGE PARK, MD. — After writing biographies of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Sammie Davis Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall, and a feature article published in The Washington Post that inspired the film “The Butler,” Wil Haygood authored his first exhibition catalog. “I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” (Rizzoli Electa,...
Black Art History: Jacob Lawrence's Narrative Series About Black Perseverance and American Rebellion Inspired a Cache of Children's Books

Black Art History: Jacob Lawrence’s Narrative Series About Black Perseverance and American Rebellion Inspired a Cache of Children’s Books

“The Last Journey,” No. 17 from the series Harriet Tubman and the Promised Land (1967) by Jacob Lawrence   OVER THE COURSE OF HIS CAREER, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) documented the African American experience and life in Harlem. He also tackled key moments in American history through multi-panel series. A sweeping look at the history of...
Culture Type Picks: 18 Best Black Art Books of 2018

Culture Type Picks: 18 Best Black Art Books of 2018

The best illustrated black art books of 2018. | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine   THE INCREASED INTEREST among some museums in mounting exhibitions featuring the work of African American artists has translated into a growing number of catalogs published to document them, which is wonderful. Many of those catalogs made Culture Type’s 2018 list...
Jeffrey C. Stewart Wins National Book Award for Biography of Alain Locke

Jeffrey C. Stewart Wins National Book Award for Biography of Alain Locke

Jeffery C. Stewart accepts National Book Award on Nov. 14   THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION went to Jeffrey C. Stewart for “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke.” Stewart’s definitive biography explores the public influence and private persona of Alain Locke (1885-1954), the gay intellectual and champion of visual artists who...