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1971 : A Year in the Life of Color
by Darby English

Art historian Darby English is celebrated for working against the grain and plumbing gaps in historical narratives. In this book, he explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of black cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, an integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.

1971 takes an insightful look at many black artists’ desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their and their advocates’ efforts to further that aim through public exhibitions. Amid calls to define a “black aesthetic” or otherwise settle the race question, these experiments with modernist art favored cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight.

The power and social importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a racial metaphor and partly from investigations of color that were underway in formalist American art and criticism. From Frank Bowling to Virginia Jaramillo, Sam Gilliam to Peter Bradley, black modernists and their supporters rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for racial reconciliation. At a time when many debates about identity sought closure, these exhibitions offered openings; when icons and slogans touted simple solutions, they chose difficulty. But above all, as English demonstrates in this provocative book, these exhibitions and artists responded with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color.

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Melvin Edwards
Five Decades

First edition of this now out-of-print major monograph on the work of Melvin Edwards.
Over the past five decades, New York-based sculptor Melvin Edwards (born 1937) has produced a remarkable body of work redefining the modernist tradition of welded sculpture. Working primarily in welded steel, Edwards is perhaps best known for his Lynch Fragments, small-scale reliefs born of the turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement. Beyond the Lynch Fragments, Edwards’ oeuvre encompasses larger sculptures, installations, public projects, drawings, studies and prints.

Published on the occasion of a major retrospective originated by Nasher Sculpture Center, Melvin Edwards: Five Decades presents a richly illustrated examination of Edwards’ career, featuring more than 90 works and numerous unpublished photographs from the artist’s archive.

Texts by Alex Potts, Tobias Wofford, Catherine Craft.

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Sam Gilliam
A Retrospective


In 1968 Gilliam liberated his abstract expressionist canvases from their stretchers and suspended his “ecstatically” colorful paintings like banners or drapery, thus launching a remarkably vibrant career. Yet this is the first full-length book devoted to Gilliam, the best-known African American abstract painter, a much-needed volume produced in sync with a landmark traveling retrospective exhibition. Binstock, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., tracks the evolution of Gilliam’s innovative techniques and unabashedly beautiful and often misunderstood work, from subtly layered and delicately atmospheric paintings resembling frost on glass and fossils in stone to more densely textured and earthier canvases; elaborately patterned, painted assemblages; and monochromatic paintings on wood. Binstock also sensitively chronicles the reception of Gilliam’s work, including the criticism that Gilliam’s abstractions don’t overtly reflect African American life. Determined to follow his artistic vision and revel in his independence, Gilliam observes, and all art lovers will concur, that “art is at least as important as politics when it comes to creating new ways of thinking about society and moving it forward.” Donna Seaman

Published in 2005, this monograph on the work of Sam Gilliam features texts by Jonathan P. Binstock, Walter Hopps, and Jacquelyn D. Serwer, alongside a chronology, exhibition list, bibliography and countless colour and black and white reproductions of Gilliam’s work.

* Condition: Very Good/Fine (Almost as new condition with only minor shelf wear) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request

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Peter Voulkos
Retrospective

Published in conjunction with the 1995 touring Japanese Museum retrospective of work by the pioneering late artist/ceramicist Peter Voulkos, this is the beautifully designed and printed first-edition Japanese catalogue from the Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo (Jan 2 – Feb 20, 1995) and  The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. (Feb 28 – April 2, 1995), which comes housed in an elegant printed cardboard slipcase. A very rare volume, and in our opinion the most stunning of books on the work of Peter Voulkos.

Profusely illustrated with wonderful colour photo documentation of his many works, accompanied by an essay by Rose Slivka.

In 1954, Voulkos founded the Ceramic Center at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, which gave birth to the West Coast Abstract Expressionist ceramics movement. He later became a highly influential educator at UC Berkeley while continuing a vital career that included work in bronze sculpture and wood-fired stoneware.

* Condition: Very Good-Fine (a clean, tight copy protected in it’s original cardboard slipcase with only light tanning to backside) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.

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