In her article “Visiting ‘Soul of a Nation,’” Ashawnta Jackson reviews a 2018 Brooklyn Museum art exhibit that explored the idea of a Black aesthetic. According to the show’s curator, Ashley James, the exhibition brought together “artists who questioned the Black aesthetic and those who had an answer. [But it could] only offer a glimpse into a longer practice … [by] surveying and charting the landscape.” From assemblage artist Betye Saar to quilter Faith Ringgold to jazz great Miles Davis, the following profiles of Black visual artists and musicians survey and chart a similar landscape on a much smaller scale.
November 14, 2018
A new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum asks: Is there a Black aesthetic?
October 3, 2019
The black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux was one of the first to make films for a black audience, a rebuke to racist movies like The Birth of a Nation.
February 5, 2020
On the making of gospel music, from Gospel Pearls to Jesus Is King.
February 15, 2016
Artist Betye Saar subverts, reclaims, and draws on both public and personal spaces. Her work remains as relevant today as it did when it was first created.
April 23, 2019
Jean-Michel Basquiat created art that commented on New York City, while also contributing to its architecture and style.
March 1, 2016
Visual artist Krista Franklin uses various media to create fantastic new worlds inspired by science fiction, the Black Arts Movement, and Afrofuturism.
April 2, 2015
A look at mythic themes in Kendrick Lamar's recent #1 album To Pimp a Butterfly.
June 4, 2015
Jacob Lawrence’s Great Migration series heads back to NYC where it first debuted. The lasting influence of Jacob Lawrence and his series is inarguable.
March 18, 2016
Through a didactic retelling of history, artist Faith Ringgold uses her story quilts to reframe the past.
November 24, 2017
Postmodernist painter and printmaker Emma Amos makes artwork that references historical figures as well as her family legacy.
October 17, 2016
Seydou Keïta captured Bamako life at the turn of independence in Mali. Keïta’s story is mythic and rich, as is that of his art and photography.
April 21, 2019
A music scholar suggests that Miles Davis combined the blues with the musical avant garde in a manner reflecting the integrationist spirit of the era.
Have a correction or comment about this article?
Please contact us.
Please contact us.