In the years following the First World War, black Americans began migrating to the cities of the north in increasing numbers. New York's Harlem became a magnet for musicians, writers, artists and performers, whose creative activity was celebrated under the banner of 'the New Negro Arts Movement'. Rhapsodies in Black takes a fresh look at the Harlem Renaissance, contesting narrow interpretations of it as an isolated phenomenon. Rather, it is recognised as an historical moment of global significance, with connections to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the USA, in particular Chicago and the Deep South. Like jazz musicians, the artists of the Harlem Renaissance era travelled and interacted, and their art was cosmopolitan, inspired by European modernism as well as the cultural groundswell of black America.
This fully illustrated book examines this cultural phenomenon as a key moment in twentieth-century art history which transcended regional and racial boundaries. Rhapsodies in Black speaks across the arts, reaching out from an exploration of the painters and sculptors of the time, to consider film, theatre and dance. With contributions by distinguished authors from both sides of the Atlantic, it offers a kaleidoscope of provocative readings, showing that the issues and ideas of the Harlem Renaissance still resonate today.
182pp, softback, 284 x 230mm, 116 illustrations (55 in colour)
Hayward Gallery, Iniva and the University of California Press, 1997
Published on occasion of the touring exhibition organised by the Hayward Gallery, London in collaboration with the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washingon D.C. and Iniva
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