Black History Month

by Fred Showker

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Creative Folk

At the Creative Folk web site they've dedicated a page to posters of African American artists and graphic designers -- Beyond Black History Month: The African American Studies Toolkit. Here we found a wonderful collection of visual art from such artists as

African American Registry

Finally, our searches took us to the African American Registry and their Theatre & Arts section with lots of links to both visual artists and performing artists.

Study of Black History & Art

Harlem Renaissance : Art of Black Americabest choice

This colorful book provides context about the Harlem Renaissance and the proliferation of Black artists during the 20's and 30's -- it's filled with samples of the period's most representative works. Rounding out the art form are essays and poems by noted writers of the time. This is a good introduction to the period and is suitable for all ages.
      Hardcover: 200 pages; published by Harry N Abrams, 1994

best choice Black Art: A Cultural History

This is an excellent reference for artists' profiles which includes a wide array of artistic achievements in the past century, from blues to reggae, from the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner to the video installations of Keith Piper. Richard Powell's study concentrates on the works of art themselves and on how these works, created during a time of major social upheaval and transformation, use black culture as both subject and context. This book places its emphasis on black cultural themes rather than on black racial identity containing more than 190 illustrations.
      Paperback: 272 pages Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 2nd edition, 2002

African American Art and Artists

best choice According to David McClelland, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia
      "This book belongs on the art reference shelf of every major library. A revised and updated edition of the 1978 work Art: African American, it presents short biographies and illustrations of the work of 176 artists of African descent working in the United States from the Revolution to the present. "
      Author Samella Lewis has brought African American Art and Artists fully up to date in this revised and expanded edition. The book now looks at the works and lives of artists from the eighteenth century to the present, including new work in traditional media as well as in installation art, mixed media, and digital/computer art. Mary Jane Hewitt, an author, curator, and longtime friend of Samella Lewis's, has written an introduction to the new edition.
Paperback: 340 pages; from the University of California Press, 2003

Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation

best choice In this book, artist and art historian Michael Harris investigates the role of visual representation in the construction of black identities, both real and imagined, in the United States. He focuses particularly on how African American artists have responded to--and even used--stereotypical images in their own works.
      Harris shows how, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, racial stereotypes became the dominant mode through which African Americans were represented. These characterizations of blacks formed a substantial part of the foundation of white identity and social power. They also, Harris argues, seeped into African Americans' self-images and undermined their self-esteem.
Hardcover: 296 pages; Publisher: University of North Carolina Press, 2003

Black History Month ... continues on the next page...

If you have suggestions or additions, please let us know!

Thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries about favorite or famous graphic designers and illustrators with other readers -- contact us, or give me a tweet at Twitter/DTG_Magazine

27th Anniversary for DTG Magazine


On February 13th, Anonymous said:

Wow! Paul Collins is amazing! Vel Verrept is another great artist on the rise

On February 15th, Marsha Pennyfeather said:

I enjoyed the journey through the gallery. I missed your request for black artists, but will certainly jot down sites I find during the year and pass them along.

On March 3rd, Arnold L Johnson said:

One artist stands out for me that is Sam Gilliam.

On March 26th, Barbara Wright said:

This is such a wonderful service you do for the design industry --- we read for the first time last year in February...

It's great that you do this every year -- keep up the great work, Fred

Barbara Wright