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Welcome to the Art subject guide

Jitterbugs (II) William H. Johnson, ca. 1941.This guide provides information on resources in the Fine Art and History of Art subject areas.

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Image: Jitterbugs (II), William H. Johnson, ca. 1941. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Douglas E. Younger

New books in Art

Indeterminacy: thoughts on time, the image, and race(ism)

In a series of written exchanges, David Campany and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa consider the options for photography in resisting the oppressive orthodoxies of racial capital, conservative history, and neoliberal visual culture. How does the essential indeterminacy of photography square with the need to work out alternative practices? How is visibility achieved beyond the consensual categories of the mass media and the commodification of art? What models are there for the making and reception of photographic books and exhibitions that might cultivate an active spectatorship beyond boutique consumerism?

The Rainbow's Gravity

From Victorian breakthroughs in synthesising pigments to the BBC's conversion to chromatic broadcasting, the story of colour's technological development is inseparable from wider processes of modernisation that transformed Britain. This revolutionary history brings to light how new colour technologies informed ideas about national identity during a period of profound social change, when the challenges of industrialisation, decolonisation of the Empire and evolving attitudes to race and gender reshaped the nation.

Contemporary Art

Since the 1960s, contemporary art has overturned the accepted historical categorizations of what constitutes art, who creates it, and how it is represented and validated. This guide brings the subject up to date, exploring the notion of "contemporary" and what it means in the present as well as how it came about. Curator and writer Natalie Rudd explains the many aspects of contemporary art, from its backstory to today, including different approaches, media, and recurring themes.

Hogarth's Britons

An analysis of the work of William Hogarth, whose painting captured British identity during times of struggle in the 1700s. Hogarth's Britons explores how the English painter and graphic satirist William Hogarth (1697-1764) set out to define British nationhood and identity at a time of division at home and conflict abroad; Setting Hogarth's interest in the unifying idea of British national character and spirit in all its variety alongside the ongoing national debate on Britain's past, present, and future within European and World affairs, this book shows that Hogarth and his art have never been more relevant.

The other side : a journey into women, art and the spirit world

It's not so long ago that a woman's expressed interest in other realms would have ruined her reputation, or even killed her. And yet spiritualism, in various incarnations, has influenced numerous men - including lauded modernist artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich and Paul Klee - without repercussion. The fact that so many radical women artists of their generation - and earlier - also drank deeply from the same spiritual well has for too long been sorely neglected.

Art's Properties

A revisionist reading of modern art that examines how artworks are captured as property to legitimize power. In this provocative new account, David Joselit shows how art from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries began to function as a commodity, while the qualities of the artist, nation, or period themselves became valuable properties. Joselit explores repatriation, explaining that this is not just a contemporary conflict between the Global South and Euro-American museums, noting that the Louvre, the first modern museum, was built on looted works and faced demands for restitution and repatriation early in its history.

The Artist in the Counterculture

How California's counterculture of the 1960s to 1980s profoundly shaped--and was shaped by--West Coast artists. The 1960s exert a special fascination in modern art. But most accounts miss the defining impact of the period's youth culture, largely incubated in California, on artists who came of age in that decade. As their prime exemplar, Bruce Conner, reminisced, "I did everything that everybody did in 1967 in the Haight-Ashbury. . . . I would take peyote and walk out in the streets." And he vividly channeled those experiences into his art, while making his mark on every facet of the psychedelic movement--from the mountains of Mexico with Timothy Leary to the rock ballrooms of San Francisco to the gilded excesses of the New Hollywood.

Vitamin C+

Over 100 global artists working with collage, as chosen by a team of art experts - an indispensable who's who of the most exciting and innovative names working in the medium. Collage is an artistic language comprising found images, fragmentary forms, and unexpected juxtapositions. While it first gained status as high art in the early twentieth century, the past decade has seen a fresh explosion of artists using this dynamic and experimental approach to image making.

The Art of Environmental Activism in Indonesia

This book analyses the intersections between contemporary art and environmental activism in Indonesia. Exploring how the arts have promoted ecological awareness from the late 1960s to the early 2020s, the book shows how the arts have contributed to societal change and public and political responses to environmental crises. This period covers Indonesia's rapid urban development under the totalitarian New Order regime (1967-1998) as well as the enhanced freedom of expression, alternative development models, and environmental problems under the democratic governments since 1998.

Wangechi Mutu

A comprehensive survey of the work of the influential Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu. Wangechi Mutu's multidisciplinary practice grapples with contemporary realities while proffering new models for a radically changed future informed by feminism, Afrofuturism, and interspecies symbiosis. Her work addresses some of today's most critical questions concerning historical violence and its impact on women, together with our inextricable ties toward one another, our ecosystems, and other life forms.

Hilma Af Klint: Tree of Knowledge

One of the most inventive artists of the twentieth century, Hilma af Klint was a pioneer of abstraction. Her first forays into her imaginative non-objective painting long preceded the work of Kandinsky and Mondrian and radically mined the fields of science and religion. Deeply interested in spiritualism and philosophy, af Klint developed an iconography that explores esoteric concepts in metaphysics, as demonstrated in Tree of Knowledge. This rarely seen series of watercolors renders orbital, enigmatic forms, visual allegories of unification and separateness, darkness and light, beginning and end, life and death, and spirit and matter.

Art and Autonomy: a Critical Reader

In recent years, the theory of art's autonomy appears to have been confined to the annals of Modernism. If contemporary history, political interventions and critiques of Eurocentrism have shown us anything, it is that art and its institutions are thoroughly socially determined, that art no longer operates in a separate or protects sphere of its own. Researched and authored by Sven Lütticken, this ambitious study seeks to test such assumptions, arguing that autonomy, far from a romantic naiveté, retains its conceptual and political purchase.

Contemporary Color Theory & Use

This fully revised and updated third edition offers students and artists valuable insights into traditional color theory and its practical application using today's cutting-edge technology. The text is lavishly illustrated, stressing issues of contemporary color use and examining how today's artists and designers are using color in a multitude of mediums in their work. It is the only book that has parity between the male and female artists and designers represented, while containing more multicultural and global examples of art and design than any other text.

Betye Saar: Heart of a Wanderer

A richly illustrated look at how travel influenced the work of renowned contemporary artist Betye Saar. Betye Saar (b. 1926) is an artist whose assemblages tell visual stories and convey powerful political messages. A leading figure of the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s, she works with found objects--many of which she gathers on her extensive travels--to explore themes like symbolic mysticism, feminism, racism, and Eurocentric chauvinism.

Art is magic

Art is Magic is artist Jeremy Deller's attempt to tie up the key works of his career alongside the art, pop music, film, politics and history that have inspired his work. Much has been written about Deller over the decades but this is the first time he has pulled together all of his cultural touchstones. It is divided into three sections: a visual guide through his favourite work, in-depth reflections on his life and art and, finally, a scrapbook of images to explain what drives him (from Rod Stewart to bats, the perfect jukebox to neolithic axe heads).

Rediscovering Black Portraiture

Join Peter Brathwaite on an extraordinary journey through representations of Black subjects in Western art, from medieval Europe through the present day. "These mirror images with their uncanny resemblances traverse space and time, spotlighting the black lives that have been silenced by the canon of western art, while also inviting us to interrogate the present." --Times (UK)

Tudor Liveliness

A groundbreaking approach to the problem of realism in Tudor art. In Tudor and Jacobean England, visual art was often termed "lively." This word was used to describe the full range of visual and material culture--from portraits to funeral monuments, book illustrations to tapestry. To a modern viewer, this claim seems perplexing: what could "liveliness" have meant in a culture with seemingly little appreciation for illusionistic naturalism? And in a period supposedly characterised by fear of idolatry, how could "liveliness" have been a good thing?

Boundary Trouble in American Vanguard Art, 1920-2020

A profound examination of the complex constructs that have kept "outsider" and self-taught artists on the margins of the mainstream. The artists in Boundary Trouble in American Vanguard Art defy binary constructs of insider and outsider. Some are credentialed professionals, others are self-identified amateurs, and yet others are indifferent to categorical classification systems. These shifting identifications and concepts are examined in 16 essays, challenging established narratives of American and modernist art histories.

Beauty Born of Struggle

A collection of illustrated essays highlights the works of influential Black artists from Washington, DC, from the 1920s to the present. In a twentieth century during which modern art largely abandoned beauty as its imperative, a group of Black artists from Washington, DC, made beauty the center of their art making. This book highlights these influential artists, including David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, and Alma Thomas, in the context of what Jeffrey C. Stewart describes as the Washington Black Renaissance.

Artists and Agents

How Soviet Bloc secret police surveilled performance art and happenings--and how artists responded. Subversion need not belong to a particular culture: it can come from artists who outwit the state or from intelligence agencies that infiltrate the art scene on behalf of the state. But what happens when the two sides meet? After Eastern Europe's state security archives were opened, it became possible for this interaction to be studied in detail.

The Affinity of Neoconcretism

The 1950s and early 1960s in Brazil gave birth to a period of incredible optimism and economic development. In The Affinity of Neoconcretism, Mariola V. Alvarez argues that the neoconcretists--a group of artists and poets working together in Rio de Janeiro from 1959 to 1961--formed an important part of this national transformation. She maps the interactions of the neoconcretists and discusses how this network collaborated to challenge existing divides between high and low art and between fields such as fine art and dance.

Reshaping the Field: Arts of the African Diasporas on Display

Reshaping the Field: Arts of the African Diasporas on Display explores key moments that have created ruptures in how Blackness has been framed through exhibitions, emphasising how Black artists have been viewed and African diasporic art histories have been shaped. The publication expands the field of exhibition histories through a selection of pioneering exhibitions that have shaped the domain of Black art today. Addressing the seemingly never-ending tension between art as universal versus identity specific, this publication demonstrates that the question of Black identity in art and exhibition-making is inherently historically and systemically produced.

The mirror and the palette : rebellion, revolution and resilience : 500 years of women's self-portraits

Jennifer Higgie introduces us to a cross-section of women artists who embody the fact that there is more than one way to understand our planet, more than one way to live in it and more than one way to make art about it. Spanning 500 years, biography and cultural history intertwine in a narrative packed with tales of rebellion, adventure, revolution, travel and tragedy enacted by women who turned their back on convention and lived lives of great resilience, creativity and bravery.

Up Against the Real

A history of 1960s activist art group Black Mask. With Up Against the Real, Nadja Millner-Larsen offers the first comprehensive study of the group Black Mask and its acrimonious relationship to the New York art world of the 1960s. Cited as pioneers of now-common protest aesthetics, the group's members employed incendiary modes of direct action against racism, colonialism, and the museum system. They shut down the Museum of Modern Art, fired blanks during a poetry reading, stormed the Pentagon in an antiwar protest, sprayed cow's blood at the secretary of state, and dumped garbage into the fountain at Lincoln Center.

Jameson Green

Packed with allusions to art history and full of rambunctious cartoon energy, Green's paintings eviscerate the gruesome imagery of racism. Bronx-based painter Jameson Green (born 1992) creates psychological parables rendered in a visual language steeped in the grandeur of art history, inflected with comics and illustration and filtered through a highly introspective lens. Sampling art-historical references ranging from Jacob Lawrence and Bill Traylor to Crumb, Picasso, Goya, Guston, Kokoschka and Rubens, Green creates a form of visual hip-hop infused with tremendous momentum and energy.

Romare Bearden: Patchwork Quilt

In this latest volume of the MoMA One on One series, curator Esther Adler explores Bearden's complicated centrality in mid-twentieth century art, and the continuing reach of his legacy. Patchwork Quilt (1970), a monumental composition dominated by a prone figure and bands of fabric unfolding across the composition, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art the year it was made, and quickly became a landmark in Bearden's career.

A Site of Struggle

An important examination of how artists have grappled with anti-Black violence and its representations from the late nineteenth century to the present. From the horrors of slavery and lynching to the violent suppression of civil rights struggles and recent acts of police brutality, targeted violence of Black lives has been an ever-present fact in American history. Images of African American suffering and death have constituted an enduring part of the nation's cultural landscape, and the development of creative counterpoints to these images has been an ongoing concern for American artists. A Site of Struggle highlights diverse works of art and ephemera from the post-Reconstruction period of the late nineteenth century to the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues

An investigation into Saar's lifelong interest in Black dolls, with new watercolors, historic assemblages, sketchbooks and a selection of Black dolls from the artist's collection. This volume features new watercolor works on paper and assemblages by Betye Saar (born 1926) that incorporate the artist's personal collection of Black dolls. These watercolors showcase the artist's experimentation with vivid color and layered techniques, and her new interest in flat shapes.

Africa-Arctic Flyway

The use of art and architecture to develop practical solutions to economic and ecological crises. What if art holds the solution to the unfolding ecological and economic crises of our time? For more than forty-five years, Peter Fend has argued that art premonitions material culture, therefore the means of production, ensuing changes in social relations. Hence, in his view, works by Marcel Duchamp, Carolee Schneemann, Mary Beth Edelson, Paul Sharits, and others, can prefigure ecological restoration and cohabitation.

The Political Body

How a constellation of Latin American artists explored the body, power, and emancipation--and expanded the meanings of feminist art. In The Political Body, art historian Andrea Giunta explores gender and power in the work of Latin American artists from the 1960s to the present. Questioning the social place of women and proposing alternative understandings of biological bodies, these artists eroded repressive systems and created symbolic strategies of resistance to dictatorships, racism, and marginalization.

Artistic Ecologies

An inquiry into the current ways of knowing, their ramifications, and institutional and noninstitutional artistic practices that provide channels for education from below. Artistic Ecologies- New Compasses and Tools aims to both analyze and speculate about potentials of artistic ecologies, collective learning, and engaged pedagogies to engender new institutionalities.


A leading figure in the world of networked culture explores the artists and events that defined the mass medium of our time Since 1989, the year the World Wide Web was born, the art world has grappled with the rise of networked culture. This unprecedented survey of the artists and innovators in this area from 1989 to today is interwoven with the personal narrative of one of the leading voices on the digital world.


This stunning exhibition catalogue visualizes what freedom looks like for Black Americans today and the legacy of the Civil War in 2023 and beyond. Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation sits at the intersection of history and contemporary life. Building upon in-depth conversations about representations of enslavement and emancipation at the close of the Civil War, this project originates from an analysis of sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward's The Freedman (1863), one of the first bronze representations of a Black person in the United States, and expands into an investigation of how living artists envision emancipation, freedom, and liberation today.

Dystopian and Utopian Impulses in Art Making

An exploration of diverse art practices that attempt to offer new ways of understanding and being in the world. This collection of written and visual essays includes artistic responses to various crises--including the climate emergency, global and local inequalities, and the COVID-19 pandemic--and suggests new forms of collectivity and collaboration within artistic practice. It surveys a wide variety of practices, oriented from the perspective of Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

52 Artists: a Feminist Milestone

This volume celebrates the 51st anniversary of the historic 1971 exhibition Twenty Six Contemporary Women Artists, curated by Lucy R. Lippard and presented at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. It showcases work by the artists included in the original 1971 exhibition, alongside a new roster of 26 female-identifying or nonbinary emerging artists, tracking the evolution of feminist art practices over the past five decades.

Memory Art in the Contemporary World

Memory Art in the Contemporary World deals with the ever-expanding field of transnational memory art, which has emerged from a political need to come to terms with traumatic historical pasts, from the Holocaust to apartheid, colonialism, state terror and civil war. The book focuses on the work of several contemporary artists from beyond the Northern Transatlantic.

Painting in The 1980s

This book is the first to explore major painters of the 1980s in depth and to analyze the factors that shaped art from the period. Painting in the 1980s details where and how painting embodied the zeitgeist in original fusions of style and content. Gallerists, curators, and art historians assigned labels such as New Image Painting, Neo-Expressionism, Italian Transavanguardia, Neo-Geo, and the blanket designation of Postmodernism to categorize painting in this era, yet these classifications denote a false sense of homogeneity.

Censored Art Today

Censored Art Today is an accessible, informed analysis of the debates raging around censorship of art and so-called 'cancel culture,' focusing on who the censors are and why they are clamping down on forms of artistic expression worldwide.

A World History of Women Photographers

A magnificently illustrated showcase of the work of 300 women photographers from all over the world, from the invention of the medium to the dawn of the 21st century. Women were closely involved in all major photography movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, and have used the camera as an extraordinary tool for emancipation and experimentation.

Samuel Fosso

A mini-monograph on Samuel Fosso, the renowned Cameroon-born Nigerian photographer. Samuel Fosso (b. 1962) is one of Central Africa's leading contemporary artists, whose playful and perceptive work investigates Pan-African identity and history through the use of portraiture. Renowned for his 'autoportraits' - styling himself and others as characters from popular culture or politics - Samuel Fosso reflects the world around him through a distinct aesthetic that has at times defied Nigerian dictatorial decree.

Shotgun Seamstress

A cut & paste celebration of Black punk and outsider identity, this is the only complete collection of the fanzine Shotgun Seamstress, a legendary DIY project that centered the scope of Blackness outside of mainstream corporate consumerist identity.

When We See Us

A major new study of Black figurative art from Africa and the African diaspora, covering 100 years from the early 20th century to now. Published to accompany a major exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, this book presents a comprehensive exploration of Black self representation through portraiture and figuration, celebrating Black subjectivity and Black consciousness from Pan-African and Pan-Diasporic perspectives.

The Performing Observer

This collection of short, critical writings on contemporary art, performance, and photography analyzes a wide range of global practitioners, from emerging to established artists. The result is a well-informed, jargon-free survey of significant developments in contemporary art and culture over the past two decades. Among the artists discussed are Francis Alÿs, Laurie Anderson, Chris Burden, William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.

I Can Make You Feel Good

In his first published monograph, Tyler Mitchell, one of America's distinguished photographers, imagines what a Black utopia could look like. The book unifies and expands upon Mitchell's body of photography and film from his first US solo exhibition at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.

Tomashi Jackson

Jackson's paintings synthesize connections shared by local residents of color around experiences of transportation, housing, agriculture and labor. The first monograph on Tomashi Jackson (born 1980), The Land Claim illustrates the Cambridge- and New York-based artist's unique work and research methodology that focuses on the historic and contemporary lived experiences of Indigenous, Black and Latinx families on the East End of Long Island, and how the role of women, the meaning of labor and the sacredness of land link these communities.

By Alison Knowles: a Retrospective (1960-2022)

American artist Alison Knowles is best known as a co-founder of Fluxus, the avant-garde group founded in 1962. Knowles's groundbreaking experiments--from painting and printmaking to sculpture and installation, sound works, poetry, and artist's books--have influenced contemporary art and artists for more than fifty years. The first comprehensive exhibition of her significant but underexamined body of work, by Alison Knowles: A Retrospective (1960-2022) will bring greater attention to all facets of the artist's oeuvre.


Gender is a polyphonic portrait of the representation of gender in art. In this book, celebrated playwright and artist Travis Alabanza offers a revelatory new perspective on the ways that art and gender have interacted through the ages, taking us into the drama that always follows gender, and the drama that always follows art. Through a number of recognizable works from the national collection of art, we discover who is really putting on a show, and what they are trying to tell us.


Class is a subject that has shaped the art world in Britain for as long as it has existed. At a moment when galleries and museums are seen to be upholding outdated and damaging class structures and systems, how is it possible to trace and tackle the legacy and impact of class in art throughout history, and today?

Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems: in Dialogue

A visual and conceptual conversation between two leading US photo-artists famed for their mutual explorations of race, class and power. Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems met in New York in the late 1970s, and over the next 45 years these close friends and colleagues have each produced unique and influential bodies of work around shared interests and concerns.


Photography has been one of the key languages of modernity and with the advent of the digital revolution, it has also established itself as the most used medium in everyday private and public communication. Photography is also one of the arts that have marked the 19th and 20th centuries, and during the early years of the 21st century it has taken on an increasingly central role in the field of global contemporary creativity within all socio-political and cultural systems.

Really Free: the Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe

An unprecedented look at Nellie Mae Rowe's art as a radical act of self-expression and liberation in the post-civil rights-era South. During the last 15 years of her life, Nellie Mae Rowe lived on Paces Ferry Road, a major thoroughfare in Vinings, Georgia, and welcomed visitors to her "Playhouse," which she decorated with found-object installations, handmade dolls, chewing-gum sculptures and hundreds of drawings.

Assembling a Black Counter Culture

In Assembling a Black Counter Culture, writer and musician DeForrest Brown, Jr, provides a history and critical analysis of techno and adjacent electronic music such as house and electro, showing how the genre has been shaped over time by a Black American musical sensibility.

This Is Tomorrow

Michael Bird takes a fresh look at the 'long twentieth century', from the closing years of Queen Victoria's reign to the turn of the millennium, through the lens of the artists who lived and worked in this ever-changing Britain.

African art now

African Art Now is an expansive overview featuring some of the most interesting and innovative artists working today. Far-reaching in its scope, this book celebrates the diversity and dynamism of the contemporary African art scene across the continent today.

Women's Work

A celebration of art traditionally devalued as too domestic or feminine to be taken seriously and the innovative, brilliant artists reclaiming the idea of women's work'.

The Hidden Language of Symbols

A stimulating narrative and reference resource that guides the reader through the most significant symbols from worldwide art history. Why do we reach for the red rose on Valentine's day? Where did the owl gain its reputation for wisdom? Why should you never trust a fox? In this visual tour through art history, Matthew Wilson pieces together a global visual language enshrined in art: the language of symbols.

Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019) was one of the most experimental artists of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This book traces the feminist icon's prolific six-decade output, spanning her remarkably diverse, transgressive, and interdisciplinary expression. Contributions from leading and emerging scholars, writers, and artists shed new light on Schneemann's work, which addressed everything from sexual expression, taboo, and the objectification of women, to the trauma of war and the precarity of the body. 

The Cute

The Cute tracks the astonishing impact of a single aesthetic category on post-war and contemporary art, and on the vast range of cultural practices and discourses on which artists draw. From robots and cat videos to ice cream socials, The Cute explores the ramifications of an aesthetic "of" or "about" minorness--or what is perceived to be diminutive, subordinate, and above all, unthreatening--on the shifting forms and contents of art today. 

What is Black art?

What is Black art? This vital anthology gives voice to a generation of artists of African, Asian and Caribbean heritage who worked within and against British art institutions in the 1980s, including Sonia Boyce, Lubaina Himid, Eddie Chambers and Rasheed Araeen. It brings together artists' statements, interviews, exhibition catalogue essays and reviews, most of which have been unavailable for many years and resonate profoundly today. 

Revolution Is Love: a Year of Black Trans Liberation

Revolution Is Love: A Year of Black Trans Liberation is the powerful and celebratory visual record of a contemporary activist movement in New York City, and a moving testament to the enduring power of photography in activism, advocacy, and community. Through photographs, interviews, and text, Revolution Is Love celebrates the power of shared joy and struggle in trans community and liberation. 

The Double

From ancient mythology to contemporary cinema, the motif of the double--which repeats, duplicates, mirrors, inverts, splits, and reenacts--has captured our imaginations, both attracting and repelling us. The Double examines this essential concept through the lens of art, from modernism to contemporary practice--from the paired paintings of Henri Matisse and Arshile Gorky, to the double line works of Piet Mondrian and Marlow Moss, to Eva Hesse's One More Than One, Lorna Simpson's Two Necklines, Roni Horn's Pair Objects, and Rashid Johnson's The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club. 

The story of art without men

A paean to many artists as well as various art forms often overlooked or dismissed, this exciting revisionist history of art turns the limelight on women artists' creativity and the way it has shaped and enriched our world. How many women artists do you know? Who makes art history? Did women even work as artists before the twentieth century? And what is the Baroque anyway?

Artists and the People

Exploring the work of established and emerging artists in Indonesia's vibrant art world, this book examines why so many artists in the world's largest archipelagic nation choose to work directly with people in their art practices. While the social dimension of Indonesian art makes it distinctive in the globalized world of contemporary art, Elly Kent is the first to explore this engagement in Indonesian terms. 

In the black fantastic

In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora that embraces ideas of the mythic and the speculative. It brings to life the forces that shape Afrofuturism - the cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of the everyday of Black experience - and beyond, looking at how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender, identity and the body in the 21st century.

Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation

Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation questions how the Black female body, specifically the Black maternal body, navigates interlocking structures that place a false narrative on her body and that of her maternal ancestors. Drawing on a wide range of scholarly inquiry and contemporary art, this book addresses these misconceptions and fills in the gaps that exist in the photographic representation of Black motherhood, mothering, and mutual care within Black communities. 

A little devil in America: in praise of Black performance

At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker reflected on her life and legacy. She had spent decades as one of the world's most successful entertainers but told the crowd, "I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too". Inspired by these words, celebrated poet and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound meditation on Black performance in the modern age, in which culture, history and his own lived experience collide.

Selfie aesthetics

Selfie Aesthetics

Nicole Erin Morse examines how trans feminine artists use selfies and self-representational art to explore transition, selfhood, and relationality.

Black artists shaping the world

Black Artists Shaping the World

Black Artists Shaping the World celebrates the diversity of work being produced today by Black artists from around the globe, introducing twenty-six contemporary artists from Africa and of the African diaspora.


Contemporary art can seem chaotic: it may be made of toilet paper, candies you can eat, or meat that is thrown out after each exhibition. Some works fill a room with obsessively fabricated objects, while others purport to include only concepts, thoughts, or language. Immaterial argues that, despite these unruly appearances, making rules is a key part of what many contemporary artists do when they make their works.

As we rise

As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic

As We Rise presents an exciting compilation of photographs by Black artists from African diasporic culture. 

Making it modern

Making It Modern

This collection of essays brings together some of the pioneering art historian Linda Nochlin's most important writings on modernism and modernity from across her six-decade career.

Brief history of Black British art

Brief History of Black British Art

Taking as its starting point the London-based Caribbean Artists Movement, this concise introduction showcases the work of over sixty Black British artists from the 1960s until the present.

A Companion to Modern and Contemporary Latin American and Latina/o Art

In-depth scholarship on the central artists, movements, and themes of Latin American art, from the Mexican revolution to the present. Over 30 never-before-published essays on the crucial historical and theoretical issues that have framed our understanding of art in Latin America. This book has a uniquely inclusive focus that includes both Spanish-speaking Caribbean and contemporary Latinx art in the United States. 


Prime, Art's Next Generation

This illustrated survey brings together more than 100 of the most innovative and interesting contemporary artists born since 1980 working across all media and spanning the globe.

The Black index

The Black Index

The artists featured in The Black Index--Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas--build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images.

Key resources for Art

Books and e-books

You can access a wide variety of print and electronic books to support your research. Find your module reading list to see what key readings you can access electronically or search Explore to find more books and e-books. 

Key databases

We subscribe to a number of subject focused and interdisciplinary databases that will be relevant when researching the History of Art and Fine Art practice. Use the databases to find a range of material including journal articles, films for streaming and more.

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