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Recent and Upcoming Publications

Recent Publications

Black Modernisms in the Translatlantic World
Coedited by Steven Nelson and Huey Copeland
Seminar Papers, vol. 4

In this volume, ten leading scholars examine the contradictions of modernity and Black agency that continue to define the Western art world. Illustrated essays explore the work of artists such as Roy DeCarava, Ben Enwonwu, James Hampton, Norman Lewis, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Augusta Savage, and Carrie Mae Weems, always with an eye toward reframing our understanding of Black artistic producers. The interdisciplinary avenues of inquiry remake the boundaries of modernist art—its notions time and again focused on the singular white male European or American artist—with another set of imperatives, ethics, and histories, broadening our understanding of the past and present of modernism.

The Forest: A Fable of America in the 1830s
Alexander Nemerov
Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series

Set amid the glimmering lakes and disappearing forests of the early United States, The Forest imagines how a wide variety of Americans experienced their lives. Part truth, part fiction, and featuring both real and invented characters, the book follows painters, poets, enslaved people, farmers, and artisans living and working in a world still made largely of wood. Some of the historical characters—such as Thomas Cole, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fanny Kemble, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nat Turner—are well-known, while others are not. But all are creators of private and grand designs.

The Forest unfolds in brief stories. Each episode reveals an intricate lost world. Characters cross paths or go their own ways, each striving for something different but together forming a pattern of life. For Alexander Nemerov, the forest is a description of American society, the dense and discontinuous woods of nation, the foliating thoughts of different people, each with their separate shade and sun. Through vivid descriptions of the people, sights, smells, and sounds of Jacksonian America, illustrated with paintings, prints, and photographs, The Forest brings American history to life on a human scale.

Beauty Born of Struggle: The Art of Black Washington
Edited by Jeffrey C. Stewart
Studies in the History of Art, vol. 83

In a 20th 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. Vibrant histories of key District institutions and the city’s communities of educators, critics, and collectors animate a nuanced consideration of the evolution of an aesthetic dialectic from the 1920s up to the present day. The 15 essays in the volume are grounded by voices from a live artist panel at the National Gallery of Art in 2017, which included Lilian Thomas Burwell, Floyd Coleman, David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Keith Morrison, Martin Puryear, Sylvia Snowden, and Lou Stovall.

Boundary Trouble in American Vanguard Art, 1920–2020
Edited by Lynne Cooke
Studies in the History of Art, vol. 84

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.

This year the Center fellows’ research covered topics such as the emergence of coin-based silver jewelry in the newly created Navajo reservation, the art of brass in the Burgundian Netherlands, historical representations of Palestinian flora, and the impact of art and artists on histories of psychiatric reform. Center programs included lectures, symposia, a book signing, and fellows’ presentations, marked by a return to in-person programming in the spring of 2022.

Chinese Art and Dynastic Time
Wu Hung
Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series

Throughout Chinese history, dynastic time—the organization of history through the lens of successive dynasties—has been the dominant mode of narrating the story of Chinese art, even though there has been little examination of this concept in discourse and practice until now. Chinese Art and Dynastic Time uncovers how the development of Chinese art was described in its original cultural, sociopolitical, and artistic contexts, and how these narratives were interwoven with contemporaneous artistic creation. In doing so, leading art historian Wu Hung opens up new pathways for the consideration of not only Chinese art, but also the whole of art history.

Published by Princeton University Press in association with the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, this publication follows Hung’s 2019 presentation of the 68th A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts.

Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern 
Mary Beard
Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series

What does the face of power look like? Who gets commemorated in art and why? And how do we react to statues of politicians we deplore? In this book—against a background of today’s “sculpture wars”—Mary Beard tells the story of how for more than two millennia portraits of the rich, powerful, and famous in the Western world have been shaped by the image of Roman emperors.

Published by Princeton University Press in association with the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, this publication follows Beard’s 2011 presentation of the 60th A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts.

Upcoming Publications

Stay tuned!