1971: A Year In The Life Of Color by Darby English1971: A Year In The Life Of Color by Darby English

1971: A Year In The Life Of Color

byDarby English

Hardcover | December 20, 2016

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In this book, art historian Darby English explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.

1971: A Year in the Life of Color looks at many black artists’ desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts—and those of their advocates—to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a “black aesthetic,” these experiments with modernist art prioritized 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 importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism. With their supporters, black modernists—among them Peter Bradley, Frederick Eversley, Alvin Loving, Raymond Saunders, and Alma Thomas—rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for interracial collaboration and, above all, responding with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color.
Darby English is the Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness.
Title:1971: A Year In The Life Of ColorFormat:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 7 × 1.1 inPublished:December 20, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022613105X

ISBN - 13:9780226131054

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Social Experiments with Modernism
Chapter 1. How It Looks to Be a Problem
Chapter 2. Making a Show of Discomposure: Contemporary Black Artists in America
Chapter 3. Local Color and Its Discontents: The DeLuxe Show
Appendix: Raymond Saunders, Black Is a Color (1967)

Editorial Reviews

“What is more urgently demanded, for current art and its histories, than the rethinking of how activism, identity, and art interact? Perhaps only an understanding of the particular complexity of black American identity, which in 1971: A Year in the Life of Color reveals a radical oppositionality within modernism that many had already given up on. Profoundly lucid, intensely felt, archivally deep, and utterly persuasive, English’s book reorients our understanding of both that time and our own.”