Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance

Overview

Rhapsodies in Black takes a fresh look at the Harlem Renaissance, contesting narrow interpretations of it as an isolated phenomenon confined to artists of color inhabiting a few square miles of Manhattan and, instead, recognizing it as a historical moment of global significance, with connections to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the United States, in particular Chicago and the Deep South. Like jazz musicians, the artists of the Harlem Renaissance era traveled and interacted, and their art was ...
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PAPERBACK New 0520212681 Brand NEW Book-Top-right corner of half-title page has been clipped; Moderate shelf-wear, especially at corners. ~ all books carefully examined & well ... packaged. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Rhapsodies in Black takes a fresh look at the Harlem Renaissance, contesting narrow interpretations of it as an isolated phenomenon confined to artists of color inhabiting a few square miles of Manhattan and, instead, recognizing it as a historical moment of global significance, with connections to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the United States, in particular Chicago and the Deep South. Like jazz musicians, the artists of the Harlem Renaissance era traveled and interacted, and their art was cosmopolitan, inspired by European modernism as well as the cultural and artistic groundswell of black America. Two influences dominated in the art of early modernism: African art and the vitality of big city life. In Harlem, as in Paris and Berlin, artists were inspired to seek new forms and to collaborate on performances, films, and publications. Rhapsodies in Black speaks across the arts, reaching out from an exploration of the painters and sculptors of the time to consider film, theater, and dance. With contributions by distinguished authors from both sides of the Atlantic, it offers a kaleidoscope of provocative readings, showing that the issues and ideas of the Harlem Renaissance still resonate today.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A handsomely illustrated and provocative investigation of the accomplishments of black American artists, including actors, singers, painters, photographers, and sculptors, during the 1920s and '30s. While the book is meant to accompany an exhibit that has opened in London and will travel to the US, Powell (Art History/Duke Univ.) and Bailey (director of the African and Asian Artists' Archive/Univ. of East London) have produced something more than a catalog: The essays collected here are ambitious and decidedly controversial, and favor very focused inquiries (on black theater, on Josephine Baker's impact on the black image in white media, and on Paul Robeson's struggles to define what it meant to be a black artist) rather than chronological summaries. Those looking for an overview of the Harlem Renaissance will not find it here. But the reader will find some interesting ruminations on the origins and nature of a distinctly African-American art and some stunning work, including vibrant street scenes by Archibald Motley and Edward Burra, a portfolio of crisp, vibrant photographs of Harlem by James VanDerZee, and the vigorous, folk-influenced paintings of Jacob Lawrence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520212688
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/1997
  • Edition description: First Edition, (Published in association with the Hayward Gallery, London, and t
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Powell is Professor and Chair of Art History at Duke University. David A. Bailey is Director of the African and Asian Artists' Archive, University of East London.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 10
Re/Birth of a Nation 14
Voodoo Macbeth 34
Like the Gypsy's Daughter or Beyond the Potency of Josephine Baker's Eroticism 82
Paul Robeson and the Problem of Modernism 90
Modern Tones 102
Still 154
Harlem on Our Minds 160
A Chronology of Visual Art and Culture, 1919-1938 168
List of Works 178
Contributors 182
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