Fine art, like jazz or quantum physics, can feel out of reach for those of us without fluency in the subject. But as we all know from listening to music or watching movies, sounds, colors, and shapes invite a different way of processing the information set before us, allowing us to make new connections and respond to ideas in physical or emotional ways that words don’t always provoke.
Through mixed media, quilting, portraiture, folk art, photography, and more, the Black women scholars and artists below explore history, mythology, religion, racism, politics, and the Black female body in arresting, perspective-shifting compositions.
REFERENCE AND ART HISTORY:
These are wonderful guides, perfect for a classroom or library, but just as worthwhile for casual self-education.
Edited by Rujeko Hockley, Christine Kim, and Andrianna Campbell
by Kara Walker, Anita Haldemann, and Maurice Berger
FOUNDATIONAL ARTISTS TO EXPLORE:
These four artists are an excellent place to start your education in Black American art:
If you’re like me and need some handholding when it comes to fine art, check out these excellent websites dedicated to Black art:
Black Art in America
ARTISTS YOU MAY NOT FIND IN BOOKS:
There are so many incredible artists whose work hasn’t yet been compiled into monographs, or easily accessible volumes. Here are some of my favorites:
Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson
Uruba F. Slaughter
Martha Jackson Jarvis
Find more book lists and recommendations on our Black History Month page.