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New Survey Book of Contemporary African Art Since 1980
Organized in chronological order, the book covers all major artistic mediums.
NEW YORK, NY.- Contemporary African Since 1980 is the first major survey of the work of contemporary African artists from diverse situations, locations, and generations who work either in or outside of Africa, but whose practices engage and occupy the social and cultural complexities of the continent since the past 30 years. Its frame of analysis is absorbed with historical transitions: from the end of the postcolonial utopias of the sixties during the 1980s to the geopolitical, economic, technological, and cultural shifts incited by globalization. This book is both narrower in focus in the periods it reflects on, and specific in the ground it covers. It begins by addressing the tumultuous landscape of contemporary Africa, examining landmarks and narratives, exploring divergent systems of representation, and interrogating the ways artists have responded to change and have incorporated new aesthetic principles and artistic concepts, images and imaginaries to deal with such changes. Organized in chronological order, the book covers all major artistic mediums: painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, installation, drawing, collage. It also covers aesthetic forms and genres, from conceptual to formalist, abstract to figurative practices. Moving between discursive and theoretical registers, the principal questions the book analyzes are: what and when is contemporary African art? Who might be included in the framing of such a conceptual identity? It also addresses the question of globalization and contemporary African art.

The book thus provides an occasion to examine through close reading and visual analysis how artistic concerns produce major themes. It periodizes and cross references artistic sensibilities in order to elicit multiple conceptual relationships, as well as breaks with prevailing binaries of center and periphery, vernacular and academic, urban and non-urban forms, indigenous and diasporic models of identification. In order to theorize how these concerns have been formulated in artistic terms and their creative consequences Contemporary African Art Since 1980 examines a range of ideas, concepts and issues that have shaped the work and practice of African artists within an international and global framework. It traces the shifts from earlier modernist strategies of the sixties and seventies after the period of decolonization, and the rise of pan-African nationalism, to the postcolonial representations of critique and satire that evolved from the 1980s, to the postmodernist irony of the 1990s, and to the globalist strategies of the 21st century.

The main claim of this book is that contemporary African art can be best understood by examining the tension between the period of great political changes of the era of decolonization that enabled new and exciting imaginations of the future to be formulated, and the slow, skeptical, and social decline marked by the era of neo-liberalism and Structural Adjustment programs of the 1980s. These issues are addressed in chapters covering the themes of "Politics, Culture, Critique," "Memory and Archive," "Abstraction, Figuration and Subjectivity," and "The Body, Gender and Sexuality." In addition, the book employs sidebars to provide brief and incisive accounts of and commentaries on important contemporary political, economic and cultural events, and on exhibitions, biennales, workshops, artist groups and more. Rather than a comprehensive survey, this richly illustrated book presents examples of ambitious and important work by more than 160 African artists since the last 30 years. This list includes Georges Adéagbo, Tayo Adenaike, Ghada Amer, El Anatsui, Kader Attia, Luis Basto, Candice Breitz, Moustapha Dimé, Marlene Dumas, Victor Ekpuk, Lalla Essaydi, Samuel Fosso, Anawana Haloba, Jak Katarikawe, William Kentridge, Rachid Koraichi, Julie Mehretu, Nandipha Mntambo, Hassan Musa, Iba Ndiaye, Odili Donald Odita, Richard Onyango, Ibrahim El Salahi, Issa Samb, Chéri Samba, Yinka Shonibare, Barthélémy Toguo, Obiora Udechukwu, and Sue Williamson.

Okwui Enwezor, a leading curator and scholar of contemporary art, is founding publisher and editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.

Chika Okeke-Agulu is Assistant Professor of Art and Archeology and African American Studies at Princeton University, and editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.

Contemporary African Since 1980 | Contemporary African Art | Okwui Enwezor | Chika Okeke-Agulu |


Last Week News

October 18, 2009

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Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to Unlock the Secrets of Tomb 10A

Exhibition Commemorates 10th Anniversary of the National Design Awards

Indianapolis Museum of Art Announced Staffers will Face Furloughs

SOFA Chicago Returns to Navy Pier's Festival Hall for Its 16th Year

Exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Explores Concepts of "Masterpiece"

Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen Presents James Turrell's Light Installation

First Major Exhibition in Yerevan of Original Work by Artist Arshile Gorky

First Comprehensive Retrospective of Elizabeth Peyton's Oeuvre in Maastricht

Museum Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Arnaldo Roche Rabell Exhibition

LACMA Presents First Major Museum Showing of Indian Comics

MFAH Presents Most Comprehensive US Exhibition of Korean Photography

Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow at the Currier Museum of Art

Photography Installation at the Columbia Museum of Art Features Larry Clark's Gritty Images

Acquisition Enhances Gilcrease Museum's C.M. Russell Collection

Fundación Mapfre Presents Three Major Exhibitions to Mark the Start of the Season

Mirror, Mirror on the Gallery Wall: Contemporary Art Exhibition at BYU

Rare Works from the Masters Lead Christie's Fall Chinese Paintings Sale

New Berkeley Art Space Offers Eclectic Art Event on the Eve of the Day of the Dead

October 17, 2009

Museum of Fine Arts in Seville Shows Duchess of Alba's Private Art Collection

Major Retrospective of Ed Ruscha's Paintings at the Hayward Gallery

Celebrated Works by Warhol and Johns Lead Sale of Prints and Multiples

Man Who Reported Stolen Warhols Waives Insurance

Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to Offer Rare Show of Paintings

Shepard Fairey and Steve Shames Partner to Benefit Orphans in Uganda

Erwin Wurm Turns Real Objects into Sculptures at the Lenbachhaus

Steven Charles Holds His Second Solo Exhibition at Marlborough

Kunsthaus Zürich to Show 'Van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet - The Bührle Collection'

City of Dallas to Dazzle with New Performing Arts District

The Great Inca Road, A Spectacular Photography Exhibition

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Sotheby's Sales of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art Realize $32,799,234

National Gallery of Canada Pays Tribute to Kinngait Studio Artists

Internationally-Acclaimed Artist Makes U.S. Solo Debut at Peabody-Essex Museum

Museum in St.Louis Announces New Exhibition by Stephen Prina

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21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY Voted #1 Hotel in U.S.

October 16, 2009

Leopold Museum Explores Love, Fear and Death in Edvard Munch's Work

Berlin's Neues Museum will be Inaugurated Friday by German Chancellor

Christie's to Auction Restituted Painting by Camille Pissarro in November

Frieze Art Fair: Stand Prize Winner Announced, Tate Acquires New Work

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gives Major Gift to Smithsonian Museum

Swiss Curator Tops Art Power List, Damien Hirst Slumps

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum to Host Susan Rothenberg Exhibition

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Internationally Renowned Australian Artist Ricky Swallow Exhibits in Australia

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Young Tate Presents a Halloween Homage to Destruction at Tate Liverpool

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October 15, 2009

Frieze Art Fair: Magnet for the Art World's Most Important Players Opens in London

First Major Exhibition of Works by Edward Hopper Opens at Palazzo Reale in Milan

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Leonardo Fingerprint Reveals Painting May be Worth $150 Million

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William Smith Pledges Second Major Gift to Detroit Institute of Arts

Smithsonian Plans to Open Human Evolution Hall

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October 14, 2009

British Artist Damien Hirst Presents New Paintings at the Wallace Collection

Pompidou Celebrates Pierre Soulages, Indisputably the Greatest Living French Painter

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October 13, 2009

Tate Modern Presents Tenth Commission for Turbine Hall by Miroslaw Balka

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