Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
Art historian Darby English speaks about his new book, 1971: A Year in the Life of Color, with David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection.
1971: A Year in the Life of Color explores two exhibitions that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the "burning heart" of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney, and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.
English examines the desire of many black artists to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts—and those of their advocates—to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a "black aesthetic," these experiments with modernist art prioritized cultural interaction and instability. The importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism.
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