"Opens up possibilities for revising our notions of representation. Abstractionist Aesthetics is a valuable contribution to ongoing conversations about race, politics, and aesthetics."
"[C]ompelling. It shows how art can be a powerful instrument for reflecting how a social identity can be made to assume a certain social meaning and how it can be used to question the identity in this way making it malleable to transformation. Anyone interested in identity representation and culture, particularly of an ethnic or racial nature, will find much to inform and challenge them in Harper’s tightly argued and well-referenced book."
—Ethnic and Racial Studies
“A riveting polemic on the politics of abstraction in black art. Moving among examples in a range of media—literature, music, visual art, and film—with fine-tuned readings, Abstractionist Aesthetics is a devastating critique of the all-too-common presumption that variants of realism are the only effective option for a black art that would respond to the history of racial deprivation.”
—Brent Hayes Edwards, author of The Practice of Diaspora: Literature,Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalis
“Beautifully argued with unexpected twists and turns, Phillip Brian Harper exposes how our prefabricated notions of the sounds, sights, and feeling of blackness dictate our often parochial reactions to artistic efforts to engage and broaden the places assigned to black Americans. A momentous and magnificent book.”
—Michael Awkward, Gayl Jones Professor of Afro-American Literature and Culture, University of Michigan
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