Art Exhibition Books: A Few African American Art Titles

entrance to the exhibit
entrance to the exhibit

Listen people: I’ve been quite fortunate to receive lovely, thoughtful gifts this season, so after viewing the “30 Americans” art exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, it was hard to justify purchasing a heavy stack of books on the subject of African Americans and art. I took photos instead. (Photographing these titles means that they are of interest…and I will likely purchase and/or borrow them from the library at a later date!)

(photo by Leslie Reese)
(photo by Leslie Reese)

Wish I’d got to experience this exhibit:

(photo by Leslie Reese)
(photo by Leslie Reese)
(photo by Leslie Reese)
(photo by Leslie Reese)

You can see a one-minute video about Radical Presence, the exhibit, here.

Art exhibition books document concepts and artworks, curatorial processes and points of view at work behind art exhibits. Sometimes called “coffee table books,” they feature photographs of the works of artists who have been selected to represent themes and specific ideas and points of inquiry. It’s hard not to spend upwards of $40.00 for these deluxe reference guides. These historical documents are often of exceptional quality with color photographs, printed on good paper and meticulously researched and well-put-together. Art exhibition books remain to tell the tale long after a particular exhibition has closed.

Two more titles that aren’t “coffee table books” looked intriguing:

(photo by Leslie Reese)
(photo by Leslie Reese)

Access Celeste-Marie Bernier’s website and see this interview with Toure.

Many years ago when I was an art museum employee I began a modest collection of art exhibition books with the purchase of Van Gogh Face to Face: The Portraits and The Fine Art of Wood: The Bohlen Collection– it helped to have an employee discount! Prior to that I think the first art exhibition book I owned may have been Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980. By the way, one of the perks of having a museum Membership is receiving nice discounts in their gift shops (grin). You may want to consider becoming a member of a museum or favorite cultural institution in 2016.

Do you have any favorite books about art in your personal library? Do you own any “coffee table books”? Are there some you would like to own? Do tell!

7 Comments

  1. Wow powerful the video on Radical Presence! All of these books look like very impressive and informative reads. And yes I own quite a few coffee table books not all of the ones I desire for the moment. Would love to read Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? 🙂

    1. Hi Margaret – Thank you for sharing some of the art exhibition books that you’ve enjoyed returning “to savor” over time. Instead of having artworks make a fleeting impression revisiting….allows [them] to make a continued, or lasting impression on you.

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