Abstractionist Aesthetics: Artistic Form and Social Critique by Phillip Brian Harper

By Phillip Brian Harper

In a big reassessment of African American tradition, Phillip Brian Harper intervenes within the ongoing debate concerning the “proper” depiction of black humans. He advocates for African American aesthetic abstractionism—a representational mode wherein an art, instead of striving for realist verisimilitude, vigorously asserts its basically man made personality. protecting that realist illustration reaffirms the very social proof that it could were understood to problem, Harper contends that abstractionism indicates up the particular constructedness of these evidence, thereby subjecting them to serious scrutiny and making them amenable to transformation.

Arguing opposed to the necessity for “positive” representations, Abstractionist Aesthetics displaces realism because the fundamental mode of African American representational aesthetics, re-centers literature as a significant web site of African American cultural politics, and elevates experimental prose in the area of African American literature. Drawing on examples throughout various creative construction, together with the visible paintings of Fred Wilson and Kara Walker, the tune of Billie vacation and Cecil Taylor, and the prose and verse writings of Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, and John Keene, this ebook poses pressing questions on how racial blackness is made to imagine convinced social meanings. within the technique, African American aesthetics are upended, rendering abstractionism because the strongest modality for Black illustration.

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Copyright © 2015 Vanessa Beecroft. Reproduced by permission of the artist. ”72 Completely disregarding any extracompositional meaning that the performers’ bodies might register, and attending instead to each performance’s descent from regimented order into random chaos, these statements clearly constitute an attempt by Beecroft to frame her works as purely formal events, thereby recalling Ford’s characterization of Gucci’s and Prada’s all-­white runway-­show casts as mere—­politically innocent—­aesthetic constructs.

6]. Thus if in the first Week I could keep my first Line marked T clear of Spots, I suppos’d the Habit of that Virtue so much strengthen’d and its opposite weaken’d, that I might venture extending my Attention to include the next, and for the following Week keep both Lines clear of Spots.  . 32 32 ||| Black Personhood in the Maw of Abstraction 6  Benjamin Franklin, sample table from the plan for moral perfection, as presented in the Autobiography. 7 Emblem of the perfected Franklinian subject.

6]. Thus if in the first Week I could keep my first Line marked T clear of Spots, I suppos’d the Habit of that Virtue so much strengthen’d and its opposite weaken’d, that I might venture extending my Attention to include the next, and for the following Week keep both Lines clear of Spots.  . 32 32 ||| Black Personhood in the Maw of Abstraction 6  Benjamin Franklin, sample table from the plan for moral perfection, as presented in the Autobiography. 7 Emblem of the perfected Franklinian subject.

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