A sophisticated artistic celebration of Blackness.

THE BRILLIANCE OF THE COLOR BLACK THROUGH THE EYES OF ART COLLECTORS

An art scholar’s reflections on the intersection of race, color, and art.

“Of all the tincts that can fill up a canvas,” Moore emphasizes, “black exudes brilliance.” With a master’s degree in museum studies from Harvard, the Columbia University doctoral candidate in art education has already established himself as one of the most promising young voices in the art world. He expertly balances abstract criticism with pragmatic advice. In this follow-up to his acclaimed guide to art collecting, The Black Market (2020), Moore offers readers astute, thoughtful essays centered around the titular color black and provides logistical advice for Black artists and collectors. Central to the book’s message is a juxtaposition between Western culture’s association of the color white with purity and black with “grief and death.” Although black has long been associated with innocence in African and Asian cultures, these essays aim to challenge Western collectors, critics, and museums, noting, for example, that “White supremacy has…found a warm welcome in museum board seats.” Some pieces move beyond the realm of high art, noting the artistic merit and astute racial commentary found in African American literature, public art, family portraits, and “Visual Albums,” such as Kanye West’s Runaway (2010). The book’s more practical essays provide tips for building a collection, finding mentors in the field, and getting into “the business of art.” Although the wide-ranging nature of the chapters makes for a sometimes-disjointed reading experience at times, each of the essays here offers readers fresh insights into the intersection of art and race. Most importantly, Moore never misses a chance to introduce readers to a wide range of Black artists, from the well known to the up-and-coming. Entire chapters are effectively devoted to “the disruptors” and “the eclectics” who are transforming the art scene in the United States. Overall, this is a learned yet approachable book by an author who’s well versed in art history and theory as well as in the scholarship of W.E.B. Du Bois, Angela Y. Davis, and other Black theorists.

A sophisticated artistic celebration of Blackness.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-955496-23-0

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Petite Ivy Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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