Download e-book for kindle: Abstractionist Aesthetics: Artistic Form and Social Critique by Phillip Brian Harper

By Phillip Brian Harper

ISBN-10: 1479818364

ISBN-13: 9781479818365

ISBN-10: 1479865435

ISBN-13: 9781479865437

In an important reassessment of African American tradition, Phillip Brian Harper intervenes within the ongoing debate concerning the “proper” depiction of black humans. He advocates for African American aesthetic abstractionism—a representational mode wherein an art, instead of striving for realist verisimilitude, vigorously asserts its basically synthetic personality. protecting that realist illustration reaffirms the very social proof that it could possibly were understood to problem, Harper contends that abstractionism exhibits up the particular constructedness of these evidence, thereby subjecting them to serious scrutiny and making them amenable to transformation.

Arguing opposed to the necessity for “positive” representations, Abstractionist Aesthetics displaces realism because the basic mode of African American representational aesthetics, re-centers literature as a primary web site of African American cultural politics, and elevates experimental prose in the area of African American literature. Drawing on examples throughout quite a few creative creation, together with the visible paintings of Fred Wilson and Kara Walker, the track of Billie vacation and Cecil Taylor, and the prose and verse writings of Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, and John Keene, this publication poses pressing questions on how racial blackness is made to imagine yes social meanings. within the method, African American aesthetics are upended, rendering abstractionism because the strongest modality for Black illustration.

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Copyright © HCR International. Haags Gemeentemuseum. Photo copyright © DeA Picture Library / Art Resource, NY. comprises an undeniably crucial occurrence, subduing the abysmal blank chaos of the undifferentiated visual field and presenting it, reconstituted, as fully exploitable possibility. Art-­historically speaking, however, the visual field confronted by modernism was not undifferentiated at all; rather, it was occupied by the representational elements of conventionally figurative work that would effectively be eliminated by the grid itself.

S. in the decades following Reconstruction (see, for example, fig. 20 If this implies that visual abstractionism is essentially less sure in its effects than I have intimated is optimally the case (a point to which I return later in this chapter), it also explains the wary critical reaction to the Walker tableau discussed here, whose female figure does indeed present a generically “Negroid” facial profile combined with the historically resonant delineation of the servant’s kerchief, and so very likely would evoke the collectivity of African American women among viewers of the work.

S. in the decades following Reconstruction (see, for example, fig. 20 If this implies that visual abstractionism is essentially less sure in its effects than I have intimated is optimally the case (a point to which I return later in this chapter), it also explains the wary critical reaction to the Walker tableau discussed here, whose female figure does indeed present a generically “Negroid” facial profile combined with the historically resonant delineation of the servant’s kerchief, and so very likely would evoke the collectivity of African American women among viewers of the work.

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Abstractionist Aesthetics: Artistic Form and Social Critique in African American Culture by Phillip Brian Harper


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