Cultural Justice and Collecting: Challenging the Underrecognition of African American Artists

  • Patricia A. BanksEmail author


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.


Art collecting Political consumption Racialized political consumerism African American art Cultural activism Cultural justice Cultural consumption Art world Art market Aesthetics Cultural valorization 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CASBSStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Mount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA

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