A sophisticated artistic celebration of Blackness.


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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



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

Did you like this book?

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.


A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?