The Art History Newsletter

Africa Category Archives

Book Review: Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens.

11 January 2012 | Africa, Books, Modern, Photography

Wendy A. Grossman. Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens. Washington DC: International Art and Artists, 2009. 184 pp.; 23 color ills.; 259 b/w. $39.95   Wendy A. Grossman’s thoroughly researched and lucidly written exhibition catalog Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens effectively reveals the process “by which African objects, formerly considered [...]


‘Africa and Its Diasporas in the Marketplace’

23 November 2011 | Africa, Conferences, Contemporary

The Autumn 2011 African Arts (44:3) continues that journal’s tradition of fine reporting on important conferences, with five dispatches from the Fifteenth Triennial Symposium of African Art last March at UCLA, which featured 46 panels. The Triennial’s theme was “Africa and Its Diasporas in the Marketplace.” Susan Rosenfield writes: dele jegede, alongside [Sylvia] Forni, and [...]



8 December 2010 | Africa, Conferences, Contemporary, Journals

The African art journal Nka celebrated its adoption by Duke University Press by engaging 15 scholars and critics in a debate in print (issue 26) and online over “contemporary African art history and the state of the scholarship.” Editor Salah M. Hassan expresses a certain pessimism of his own about “the political and economic crises [...]


‘Combative Ambivalence’

7 December 2010 | Africa, Books, Conferences, Journals

The latest issue of The International Review of African American Art (23:2) is one of the most visually provocative magazine issues I’ve perused in years. It also includes a good mix of writing, including coverage of the most recent Porter Colloquium on African American Art. Summarizing a talk by Jacqueline Francis, Teresia Bush writes: Critical [...]


Whose Africa?

16 November 2010 | Africa, Books

Monica Blackmun Visonà, co-author of the celebrated survey A History of Art in Africa, has published a new book, Constructing African Art Histories for the Lagoons of Côte d’Ivoire, “an investigation of the methods employed by art historians who study creative production in Africa,” an attempt “to situate local and regional artistic practices in the [...]


In the papers

18 September 2010 | Africa, Ancient, Baroque/Neoclassical, Contemporary, Modern, Renaissance, Theory

Recently in the papers: Kaelen Wilson Goldie on Routes d’Arabie at the Louvre (The National) On Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art from Ancient Nigeria, previously in Santander, Madrid and London, now in Houston, and later in Indianapolis, Richmond and New York: Douglas Britt (Houston Chronicle); The Economist; Itziar Reyero (; Richard Dorment (The Telegraph); Jonathan [...]


Enwezor (Indirectly) Responds to Ogbechie

19 August 2010 | Africa, Contemporary

The newspaper Nigerian Compass interviews Okwui Enwezor, who is visiting Nigeria for the first time in 8 years. It appears to ask about Sylvester Ogbechie’s recent indictment of his curatorial practice: But how would you say your work has contributed to the the global discourse in art and in changing the general feeling about African [...]


Okwui Enwezor Critiqued

20 July 2010 | Africa, Conferences, Contemporary, Museums

Tolu Ogunlesi’s review of Art Basel alerted me to a recent provocative essay by professor and Aachron Editions publisher Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, “The Curator as Culture Broker (A Critique of the Curatorial Regime of Okwui Enwezor in the Discourse of Contemporary African Art),” which he recently presented at a UC-Santa Cruz conference The Task of [...]



15 June 2010 | Africa, Contemporary

In a recent issue of Nka (n. 25), editor Salah M. Hassan writes: In gesturing toward a theoretical framework with which to comprehend the breadth and depth of the work of this generation of African diaspora artists, several art critics have referred to them as “Afropolitans,” which could serve to embody a sense of cosmpolitanism [...]


Obit: Rosalinde Gregor Wilcox

20 April 2010 | Africa

A recent issue of African Arts (Winter 2009) carries an obituary of Rosalinde Gregor Wilcox, a scholar of African art who earned her PhD from UCLA in 1994, at the age of 58, after studying with Arnold Rubin, Herbert Cole, and Doran Ross: She was critically aware but cautious in her writing. The canoe prows [...]



14 April 2009 | Africa, Americas, Conferences

Later this week the James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art turns 20: The 2009 Porter Colloquium presents new research, new interpretations, and new subjectivities that inform scholarly practice and promote fresh ways of thinking and writing about African American art and other art in the African Diaspora. This year’s theme, Trajectories … The [...]


‘Image of the Black in Western Art’

9 April 2009 | Africa, Books

We belatedly take note of a post by Gary Schwartz: … a research institute in Paris and Houston, Texas, known as The Image of the Black in Western Art … was put in place by the oil millionaire Dominique de Menil (1908-97), a formidable figure in 20th-century patronage of minority politics as well as art. [...]


‘Art, Performance, and Ritual in Benin City’

23 September 2008 | Africa, Books

In the Autumn 2008 issue of African Arts, anthropologist Joseph Nevadomsky reviews Art, Performance, and Ritual in Benin City by Charles Gore: Gore’s book signals a change of direction in Benin Studies. It chips at the ossifications that had become the boundary markers of Benin research. John Piction, in his blurb, call Gore’s book “the [...]


Biennale Brouhaha

30 April 2008 | Africa

Artnet News surveys the Artforum debates over the most recent Venice Bienniale, declares a pox on all their houses: … The dispute has gotten delightfully nasty, if you like that sort of thing, with some of the art-world’s most sophisticated curators acting like so many playground bullies … One thing seems clear from the contretemps, [...]


‘Global Africa: Through the Lens of Visual Culture’

3 March 2008 | Africa, Conferences

The Spring 2008 issue of African Arts contains a review of the recent symposium Global Africa: Through the Lens of Visual Culture, a triennial event that was held concurrently with the University of Florida’s annual Gwendolen M. Carter Lectures on Africa: … we attempt to highlight several of the panels that we believe are indicative [...]


‘Visual Experience in Urban Africa’

29 February 2008 | Africa, Architecture

The Winter 2007 issue of Africa Today is devoted to “Visual Experience in Urban Africa.” Guest editor Joanna Grabski writes: Cities in Africa, like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, are intensely visual environments … Rather than positioning the city as a backdrop or stage, the articles [here] explore the relationships and processes connecting visual [...]


‘Are African Cultures for Sale?’

24 October 2007 | Africa, Contemporary

More interesting items on contemporary African art. A recent issue (n. 69) of Africultures is entitled “Les cultures africaines sont-elles à vendre? Richesses artistiques et développement économique.” Its contents are drawn largely from the proceedings of an October 2006 symposium “Maintenant l’Afrique!” held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In “Diffusion et marché: l’art africain [...]


‘African Art Now’

8 October 2007 | Africa, Contemporary, Museums

An extended review by Elizabeth Harney in the Summer 2007 Art Journal offers an opportunity to help fill in the gap left by CAA’s recent abortive attempt at a discussion of the ethical issues involved in the collecting and exhibition of contemporary African art. We apologize for quoting at this length from Harney’s review, but [...]


‘African Aesthetics’

4 June 2007 | Africa, Museums

Academic journals often fall comically behind in their publication schedule. For example, we recently received the latest issue of Présence Africaine, by no means the worst offender, dated “1er semestre 2005.” A good read all the same, this issue is devoted to “African Aesthetics and Philosophical Discourses.” Jean-Luc Aka-Evy contributes an article on “the resistance [...]


CAA Friday Afternoon: Contemporary African Art

16 February 2007 | Africa, Conferences, Contemporary, Museums, News

Just two of the five scheduled speakers showed for this panel! “Contemporary African Art: Moving Forward, Looking Back; Investigating the Currency of Contemporary African Art” nonetheless proved quite lively. Barbara Pollack in particular provided fireworks. A very rough and selective transcript of her talk: “I’m not an expert on Chinese art or African art. I [...]