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Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties Hardcover – March 18, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Moving and inquisitive. The show is titled after a Benny Andrews painting (Witness, 1968) of a brown-skinned woman staring into the distance with a knowing gaze. The curators emphasize the act of looking (a detail of the woman's eyes adorns the exhibition catalog); however, more than just image-based modes of witnessing are on offer.” —Art in America

“Co-curators Teresa A. Carbone and Kellie Jones present four convincing essays that address aspects ranging from representational strategies of artists, the use of photography beyond simple reportage, the impact of this work on the art history canon, and the globally situated struggle for emancipation. Jones’s deeply complex analysis cites numerous lushly illustrated works; her material, social, and political examination discusses the myriad ways African American artists, often segregated from the art world, articulated racial portraits of blackness as a means of accessing political authority. A variety of media are considered, including gestural and geometric abstraction, assemblage, minimalism, and pop imagery. This richly illustrated catalog will appeal to art and cultural historians, students, and those with an interest in the representative and political power of art created during the civil rights era.” —Library Journal

“This thoughtful catalog of brilliantly wide-ranging aesthetics explores the complex relations between visual art and the fight for racial justice. The text moves away from rote historical narratives, instead opting to focus on the role of the photographer in shaping action and emergent discourses, of the influence of Ghana and Cuba on politics and aesthetics, and of the tensions of politics in Pop art. These essays help guide what might otherwise be an overwhelming diversity of images, including a David Hammons body print, an iconic poster by Emory Douglas, Betye Saar assemblages, and Norman Rockwell paintings, among many others. The images themselves, brought into conversation with one another, are a valuable and resonant resource, allowing not only a deeper understanding of art from the 1960s, but of the ongoing historical reality of race in the United States. As Cynthia A. Young points out in one essay, the Civil Rights Movement was not monolithic: ‘In fact, it encompassed a series of movements . . . with sometimes similar and often vastly different strategies, goals, and outcomes’. In guiding us to better understand this reality, this book is exciting and successful.” —Publishers Weekly

“Published in conjunction with the Brooklyn Museum’s knockout exhibition of the same name, this book explores the art born out of the Civil Rights era through images, essays, and artist statements. Artist Jack Whitten, whose haunting collage Birmingham appears in the show, reflects on the power of images and quotes from The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois, who described the ‘sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.’ Here, we see artists define their own visual experiences in every medium, from Romare Bearden’s striking collages, to David Hammons’s mixed-media sculptures, to Charles White’s realist charcoal drawings.” —ARTNews

About the Author

Dr. Teresa A. Carbone joined the Brooklyn Museum in 1985 and is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art. She is the curator and exhibition publication co-author of Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties; a co-curator of Eastman Johnson: Painting America; and the principal author of the two-volume American Paintings in the Brooklyn Museum: Artists Born by 1876.
Dr. Kellie Jones, an authority on African American and African Diaspora artists, is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She is the author of EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art; and Taming the Freeway and Other Acts of Urban HIP-notism: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s. She served as the curator of “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980”—part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative—which originated at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2011.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580933904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580933902
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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We saw the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and this exhibition book does the exhibit justice. Incredible selection of art and story of the times.
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The book is excellent and the description of the book matched exactly to the actual content of it.
I will recommend this company to others.
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The beookk is as good as the exhibit at the Brooklym Museum. Excelente materials to introduce non American students to the Civil Rights movement.
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