Cultural Justice and Collecting: Challenging the Underrecognition of African American Artists
This chapter draws on ethnographic and archival data to examine how political and aesthetic values shape the collection of African-American art by Black patrons. Findings show that while collectors take race into account when making art purchases as a strategy to address the underrecognition of African American artists, aesthetic criteria are also foremost in their collecting decisions. Although focused on the market for African American fine art, this chapter also offers insight on activism in cultural markets more broadly. More specifically, this analysis troubles the assumption that appeals to racial politics are enough to mobilize consumers to buy products and services in cultural markets.
KeywordsArt collecting Political consumption Racialized political consumerism African American art Cultural activism Cultural justice Cultural consumption Art world Art market Aesthetics Cultural valorization
- Banks, P. A. (2010a). Represent: Art and identity among the black upper-middle class. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Becker, H. S. (1982). Art worlds. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, N. M. (2015). African Americans and consumption. In D. T. Cook & J. M. Ryan (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of consumption and consumer studies (pp. 10–12). Malden, MA and Oxford: Wiley.Google Scholar
- BlackVideoNetwork. (2018, March 11). Conversation and brunch: Collecting African American art [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKG124yFZvE.
- Bossip Staff. (2018, January 10). “Proud Mary” is barely being promoted but black people are STILL going to show up and show out. Retrieved from https://bossip.com/1613721/sony-is-barely-promoting-proud-marybut-black-people-are-still-going-to-show-up-and-show-out/.
- Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM. (2018, February 23). Mo’Nique speaks on racial and gender inequality in Hollywood + more [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpvC3j9Qxus.
- Brooklyn Museum. (2017, March 22). Breaking the canon: Collecting African American art [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bebSwMZcvbU.
- Cafritz, P. C. (2018). Fired up! ready to go! Finding beauty, demanding equity: An African American life in art—The collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz. New York, NY: Rizzoli Electa.Google Scholar
- Chambers, E. (2014). Black artists in British art: A history since the 1970s. New York, NY: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
- Evans, W. O. (1999). Reflections on collecting. In A. D. Barnwell (Ed.), The Walter O. Evans collection of African American art (pp. 19–25). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
- Gans, H. J. (1999). Popular culture and high culture: An analysis and evaluation of taste. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Halle, D. (1993). Inside culture: Art and class in the American home. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Halperin, J., & Burns, C. (2018, September 20). African American artists are more visible than ever: So why are museums giving them short shrift? Retrieved from https://news.artnet.com/market/african-american-research-museums-1350362.
- Harris, M. D. (2003). Images of America: African American voices: Selections from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Walker. Fayetteville, AK: Walton Arts Center.Google Scholar
- Hill, G., & Hill, C. (2004). Something all our own. In A. J. Wardlaw (Ed.), Something all our own: The Grant Hill collection of African American art (pp. 7–11). Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Kinsey, K. B. (2010). Translating inspiration. The Kinsey collection: Shared treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey (pp. 87). Pacific Palisades, CA: The Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation for Arts and Education.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. L. (1997 ). When Harlem was in vogue. New York, NY: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Martin, C. J. (Ed.). (2016). Four generations: The Joyner Giuffrida collection of abstract art. New York, NY: Gregory R. Miller & Company.Google Scholar
- McKinnon, E. L. (Ed.). (2007). Crossing the line: African American artists in the Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis, jr. collection. Winter Park, FD: The George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Fine Arts Museum.Google Scholar
- N’Namdi, G. (2008). George N’Namdi on collecting. In D. Goody (Ed.), Seminal works from the N’Namdi collection of African American art (pp. 7–9). Rochester, MI: Oakland University Art Gallery.Google Scholar
- National Gallery of Art. (2009, March 3). The collecting of African American art VI: The art of collecting [Video file]. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/nationalgalleryofart/the-collecting-of-african-3.
- National Gallery of Art. (2011, May 3). The collecting of African American Art III: A peculiar destiny—The mission of the Paul R. Jones collection [Video file]. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/nationalgalleryofart/the-collecting-of-african.
- National Gallery of Art. (2012, November 27). The collecting of African American art IX: Collecting black: An anachronism [Video file]. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/nationalgalleryofart/the-collecting-of-african-5.
- Ostrower, F. (2002). Trustees of culture: Power, wealth, and status on elite arts boards. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Perry, E. (2014). Basketball and art. In Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, & Flint Institute of Arts (Eds.), Point of view: African American art from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry collection (pp. 6–9). Detroit, MI and Flint, MI: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Flint Institute of Arts.Google Scholar
- Shah, D. V., McLeod, D. M., Kim, E., Lee, S. Y., Gotlieb, M. R., Ho, S. S., & Breivik, H. (2007). Political consumerism: How consumption orientations drive ‘lifestyle politics.’ Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 611, 217–235.Google Scholar
- TEDx Talks. (2016, November 18). Reframing art history | Pamela Joyner TEDxJohannesburg Salon [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vskpb-f6gTM.