The Image of the Black in Western Art. Vol. 5: The Twentieth Century; The Rise of Black Artists

Belknap: Harvard Univ. 2014. 368p. ed. by David Bindman & , Jr. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780674052697. $95. FINE ARTS
OrangeReviewStarThe final volume in the ten-volume monumental study (five previously published; five new) of the image of and contributions of black people in the history of art, is the only one that almost exclusively focuses on black artists and their works. It is in the 20th century that social, cultural, and political change allowed for African Americans to express themselves more openly in the arts. Like the previous volumes, the book consists of chapters written by renowned experts in the field of African American art, each not only describing the art but analyzing how that work expresses the historical trends in which they were created. Beginning with the era of the Harlem Renaissance (1920-mid-1930s) and the importance of photography in black self-expression, the text turns to the post-World War II period of activism and self-defining of identity and closes with considerations of worldwide contemporary trends that incorporate the black experience.
VERDICT Of all the volumes in the series, this one has the most to offer to readers unfamiliar with the extent, diversity, and significance of the accomplishments of artists of color and deserves the highest recommendation for any library. [See "African American Lives: Books for February, Black History Month," LJ 11/1/14.]
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