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Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America Hardcover – October 28, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Bound to Appear is bound to change forever the ways we think about blackness, historical memory, and contemporary art. In combining close-looking, theoretical sophistication, and writerly verve, Copeland makes us see the work and world of visual art differently. Students of contemporary art history and black cultural studies will welcome this book with appropriate admiration and wild abandon.”
(Richard Meyer, Stanford University)

“The archival turn among Black Atlantic artists gets the depth of attention it has long deserved in Bound to Appear. Asking why the subject of slavery is so resistant to representation, Huey Copeland builds upon studies of race and visuality inaugurated by Ralph Ellison and Frantz Fanon, adding far-reaching insights into the politics of form in post-medium art. Introducing a bold voice whose eloquence delivers conceptual acuity with ethical urgency, this field-turning book will be eagerly embraced across the arts and humanities for the future horizons of intellectual adventure it opens up.”
(Kobena Mercer, Yale University)

“With its rigorous and nuanced theoretical engagement as well as its meticulous description and analysis of artworks, Bound to Appear brings together the literature of black radical thought and modernist formalism not only to enhance our understanding of the complex range of issues and materials engaged by the artists under scrutiny but also to insist that their practices are central to the larger histories of modernism and contemporary art. Throughout, Huey Copeland’s prose is simply stunning, punctuated with moving rhetorical flourishes and crescendos. This is an incredibly imaginative and compelling book.”
(Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles)

 “Art history of the sort that Huey Copeland produces, in its capacity to make us see works of art anew, makes us see the world anew as well. Such vision is often discomfiting and, as such, unwanted precisely insofar as it refuses to allow any simple separation of beauty and ugliness, enjoyment and terror. But this is exactly what makes such vision necessary. This is all extraordinarily clear in the work Copeland has done in Bound to Appear, a brilliantly accomplished and vivid examination of the legacies of slavery that continue to haunt American art.”
(Fred Moten, Duke University)

“[A] lavishly illustrated and ambitious book…. Highly recommended.”

"Taken together, this book’s theoretical and critical maneuvers are consistently dazzling. . . . Bound to Appear’s combination of sensory description, sensitive handling of theory, and thorough research on featured artists and their milieu makes it a substantial and fresh piece of art history."

About the Author

Huey Copeland is associate professor of art history at Northwestern University.

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