Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s (English and Spanish Edition)

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9780822360940: Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s (English and Spanish Edition)
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Over the years, Kobena Mercer has critically illuminated the visual innovations of African American and black British artists. In Travel & See he presents a diasporic model of criticism that gives close attention to aesthetic strategies while tracing the shifting political and cultural contexts in which black visual art circulates. In eighteen essays, which cover the period from 1992 to 2012 and discuss such leading artists as Isaac Julien, Renée Green, Kerry James Marshall, and Yinka Shonibare, Mercer provides nothing less than a counternarrative of global contemporary art that reveals how the “dialogical principle” of cross-cultural interaction not only has transformed commonplace perceptions of blackness today but challenges us to rethink the entangled history of modernism as well.  

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About the Author:

Kobena Mercer is Professor of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University. He is author of Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies, editor of Cosmopolitan Modernisms, among other titles, and an inaugural recipient of the 2006 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. 

Review:

"In Travel & See, his second eagerly awaited collection of writings, Kobena Mercer offers a probing and multifaceted exploration of how the dialogics of black diaspora art at once instance and reframe the deep structures of modern and contemporary culture. Featuring thematic accounts as well as essays on individual artists and exhibitions from across the globe, this volume represents a vital contribution to aesthetic discourse from a compelling writer whose journeys and reflections over the last two decades have become models of critical engagement."  (Huey Copeland, author of Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America)

"In Travel & See Kobena Mercer breaks open some of our most trenchant binaries—politics and art, primitive and modern, Europe and America—by showing us that the black diaspora, with its crisscrossings of the Atlantic and its dense network of affiliations, movements, and practices, is predicated on the polyphony of difference, rather than structural oppositions. Released from this ‘either-or’ thinking, Mercer has written a trenchant yet delicate account of how artists of the black diaspora have demonstrably shaped the art of our time, bestowing it with a layered and rich meditation on some of the most pressing questions we ask of ourselves: who are we, and, perhaps, more importantly, who would we like to be?"  (Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator, The Museum of Contemporary Art)

"A marvelous work, Kobena Mercer's Travel & See has the potential to introduce a whole new audience to the work of several artists of the black diaspora, while at the same time shifting our understanding of their artistic practice by radically reframing how we understand the very concept of diaspora and diasporic art. Mercer's persistent challenge to an equation of the diasporic histories of these artists with any semblance of identity or identity politics is a soaring accomplishment." (Tina M. Campt, author of Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe)

"Kobena Mercer's work here is no less than a discourse on the transformation from multiculturalism to globalization. Beautifully marrying theoretical framings through psychoanalysis, sociology, and cultural studies with close readings of specific artists and objects, Mercer offers amazing materialist definitions of diaspora that readers will be mining for years to come. A phenomenal book, Travel & See will be incredibly useful to seasoned and new scholars alike."  (Kellie Jones, author of EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art)

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