Du Bois in Our Time

Du Bois in Our Time

by Loretta Yarlow (Editor)


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Scholar, author, editor, teacher, reformer, and civil rights leader, W. E. B. Du Bois was a deeply influential figure in American life and one of the earliest proponents of equality for African Americans. He was a founder and leader of the Niagara Movement; the NAACP, and the Pan-African Movement; a progenitor of the 1920's Harlem Renaissance; an advocate of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, unionism, and equality for women; and a champion of the right of oppressed people around the world.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Du Bois's death, The University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst commissioned ten leading artists from the United States, Canada, and West Africa to create original work that reflects on Du Bois's legacy and reconsiders him in light of today's issues. In all, ten artists delved into the vast Du Bois archives at UMass Amherst and consulted with Du Bois scholars both on and off campus as they conceived of their work. The new pieces created by Radcliffe Bailey, Mary Evans, Brendan Fernandes, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Julie Mehretu, Ann Messner, Jefferson Pinder, Tim Rollins and KOS, Mickalene Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems were displayed in an exhibition titled Du Bois in Our Time.

The range of artworks they produced is astounding—including photography, painting, sculpture, works on paper, video installations, as well as a proposal to create a memorial garden in honor of Du Bois. Some artists were inspired by Du Bois's poems, some by his early anticipation of women's rights and the environmental movement, some by his warnings against nuclear proliferation. Others found inspiration in the groundwork he laid for movements of public dissent, while others showed that the issues Du Bois worked on a century ago are still with us, and in certain cases more urgent than ever.

This catalog contains selected images from the exhibition, statements from the artists testifying to the inspiration and impact Du Bois has had on their lives and work, an essay by Johnnetta Cole, and an introduction by Loretta Yarlow, director of the University Museum of Contemporary Art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625341341
Publisher: University Museum of Contemporary Art
Publication date: 12/08/2014
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Loretta Yarlow is Gallery Director for University Museum of Contemporary Art for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a master's in education and fine arts from Harvard University, specializing in museum education, and has served as an adjunct professor at York University.

What People are Saying About This

Dr. Johnnetta Cole

Throughout his long and highly productive life... W. E. B. Du Bois supported human dignity, civil rights, and social justice. Every interest or issue that he pursued — and there were many — revolved around these three core ideals.... The ten artists who participated in this exhibition have given powerful visual currency to Du Bois's legacy. Together they invite us into conversations about the range and multiplicity of issues and interests that Du Bois cared about and struggled to affect.

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