Post-Blackness and New Developments in African American Art and Art History

Authored by: James Smalls

The Routledge Companion to African American Art History

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138486553
eBook ISBN: 9781351045193
Adobe ISBN:


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It was at the beginning of the new millennium, in 2001, that Thelma Golden, curator at the Studio Museum of Harlem in New York City, introduced the term “Post-Black” together in conversation with contemporary African American artist Glenn Ligon. The designation was the product of an exhibition that Golden curated called Freestyle, which featured the works of 28 contemporary black artists “who were adamant about not being labeled as ‘black’ artists, though their work was steeped … in redefining complex notions of blackness” (Golden 2001, 14). The title of the exhibition, Freestyle, was intended to reflect a contemporary creative moment of improvisation and experimentation among contemporary black artists.

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