Title: BLACKFACE - Rare Pristine Copy of The First ...
Publisher: Santa Fe, NM: Arena Editions, 1999
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 156 pages. Published in 1999. Landmark collection of photographs on subject. One of the greatest photography books of our time. The First Hardcover Edition. Published in a small and limited print run as a hardcover original only that was not reissued once all of the copies were sold. The First Edition is now scarce. A brilliant production by David Levinthal and James Crump: Oversize-volume format. Black cloth boards with titles embossed on cover and spine, as issued. Photographs by David Levinthal. Essay by Manthia Diawara. Printed on pristine-white, thick coated stock paper in Italy to the highest standards. Without DJ, as issued. Presents David Levinthal's "Blackface". Photographs of his "Blackface" toy collection. Like his other collections built around compelling themes (politics, sex, ideology, and anti-Semitism), "Blackface" tells a riveting photo-narrative on racism. Photographing his toy artifacts is an artistic strategy that is now identified with the artist. Levinthal is a collector twice over: First, of vintage toys, which are valuable in and of themselves (Levinthal's photographs would not have the same power if the toys were new or merely replicas, therefore not "collectible"); second, of images by their photographer/collector, who deploys a highly developed technique that enables him to make the toys come, uncannily, to life. As such, Levinthal's body of work is ultimately about aesthetics versus ethics, the paradox of the aesthetically pleasing photograph (which seduces) despite its ethically horrific subject (which repels). The photographs are beautiful, which is not the same thing as saying they glorify their subject. They do not. Instead, their beauty paradoxically makes us more aware of the period in American history when racism was so pervasive that it turned an innocent object, a child's toy, into a racist souvenir. Levinthal does not hesitate to make a "statement", but he does so with subtlety. And surely he never imagined that less than a decade after the publication of his book, America would vote the first African-American President into office. That this fact would lead to a huge backlash, the most virulent resurgence of racism ("Blackface" = Barack Obama) in recent history shows that racism is alive and well in American society. An absolute "must-have" title for David Levinthal collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the half-title page by David Levinthal. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. This title is a contemporary photography classic. This is one of very few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A rare signed copy thus. 98 color plates. One of the greatest photographers of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER DAVID LEVINTHAL TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 1892041065. Bookseller Inventory # 16532
Synopsis: Of all of David Levinthal's previous series of photographs, none is more challenging and provocative than his Blackface series, created over the previous three years. Levinthal has used his toy collection to question national myths, our childhood dreams, and the stereotypes and misperceptions of race and cultural identity. In his blow-up images of miniature toys he has recreated scenes of racism, genocide, and sexual fantasies. This series explores the blackface myth embodied in "black memorabilia", household objects infused with African-American stereotypes. Perhaps the artist's most important works, these images make the blackface myth speak to us directly, without an intermediary, and demand a response from us regardless of our race, age, or gender. Levinthal's Blackface images present a paradox; one that pits the beauty of photographic representation against the racism underscored by these ignoble objects. Magnified with the 20 x 24 inch Polaroid camera, the Blackface pictures explore viewer subjectivity, and question the recent popularity of "black memorabilia" amongst the African-American intelligentsia and why the manufacture of these objects proliferated earlier in this century. The photographs are accompanied by an in-depth scholarly essay by noted writer, critic, and filmmaker Manthia Diawara, an expert on the representation of the African-American in film, photography, and popular media. This book promises to be make major contributions to contemporary African-American studies.
About the Author: Renowned photographer David Levinthal is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1995) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (199091). His work has been exhibited and published extensively throughout the world. Levinthal is represented in numerous private and institutional collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; The Eileen and Peter Norton Collection, Santa Monica; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Filmmaker, writer, and critic Manthia Diawara is the director of African Studies at New York University. Diawara is the author of several books, including In Search of Africa (forthcoming, Harvard University Press), and numerous essays. He is a frequent contributor to Artforum.
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