The first thematic and cross-cultural overview of the experiences of migration and displacement that characterize so much of twentieth-century art.
Migration, whether freely chosen or forcibly imposed, has been a defining feature of twentieth-century modernity--and much of twentieth-century art. Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers examines life-changing journeys that transplanted artists and intellectuals from one cultural context to another, making clear the critical and creative role that migration, exile, and displacement have played in shaping the story of modern art. Whether manifested in the striking architectural innovations of Nigerian modernism in the 1920s or postmodern works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and black British filmmakers in the 1980s, the multidirectional appropriation and borrowing described in these essays give us new perspectives on twentieth-century art and modernity. Distinguishing between exile and diaspora, emigration and immigration, and "the stranger" and "the other," the book examines the different conditions that structure the artist's experience and aesthetic strategies. From indigenous artists and the question of authorship to the influence of emigre art historians on art history, from the aesthetics of the African diaspora to Adrian Piper's metaphorical exile between philosophy and art, these connections and disconnections in a network of traveling cultures continue art history's efforts to come to terms with the postcolonial turn.
Kobena Mercer is a writer and critic living in London. He is the editor of Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures, Cosmopolitan Modernisms, and Discrepant Abstraction (all published by The MIT Press and inIVA), author of Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies, and an inaugural recipient of the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, presented by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.