This essay suggests that the interactions that took shape within the physical boundaries of [Stieglitz’s gallery] open insights into the broader dynamics of cultural discrimination and privilege.
The apparent plaintiveness and autobiographical transparency of Should Love Come First?, and its early prominence in the then unknown Rauschenberg oeuvre, felt intensified by its obliteration by the artist himself. If ever an artwork had a story worth sleuthing, I figured it was this one, even if it was just the story of its own production.
This special section of Panorama entitled “Riff: African American Artists and the European Canon” is an outgrowth of an Association for Critical Race Art History panel of the same name that took place at the annual meeting of the College Art Association in 2017. The five essays included in this section offer nuanced readings of artists spanning nearly a century, whose engagement with European art and artistic tradition vary from full-throated adulation to subtle and unspoken resonances.
Developing his artistry while living abroad, Middleton would position his work in prevailing canonical artistic traditions of twentieth-century European modernism, particularly the innovation and creative experimentation inherent to collage.
This is to move beyond simply writing a more inclusive history of art to understanding African Americans as active participants in the history of modernism.
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