African American Art History

Some Concluding Considerations

Authored by: Eddie Chambers

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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Now that we are well into the twenty-first century, we have good reasons to reflect not only on the ways in which African American art history currently manifests itself, but also on the multiple trajectories of the art and the practitioners identified with it. We cannot, it seems, get away from the realization that irrespective of the nature of their practices, all artists regarded or viewed as “African American” would rather their art was appreciated on its own individual terms, and that they were not engaged with as units of a larger “African American Art” whole. Artists would regard the right to their individual practices—irrespective of whichever direction such practices went in—as sacrosanct, something too important or valuable to be interfered with. So, where might that leave the idea, the existence, of African American Art? In some respects, it leaves it occupying a curious, uncertain, uncomfortable space, between a useful and important category on the one hand, and problematic imposition on the other. Given that we are not, anytime soon, going to see the erasure or substitution of the term, we perhaps have to come to terms with its continued use, being particularly mindful of the consequences and the implications of this.

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