Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value
408 pp., 7 x 10 in, 77 color illus., 22 b&w illus.
- Published: May 26, 2020
- Publisher: The MIT Press
Essays, conversations, and artist portfolios confront questions at the intersection of race, institutional life, and representation.
Controversies involving race and the art world are often discussed in terms of diversity and representation—as if having the right representative from a group or a larger plurality of embodied difference would absolve art institutions from historic forms of exclusion. This book offers another approach, taking into account not only questions of racial representation but also issues of structural change and the redistribution of resources. In essays, conversations, discussions, and artist portfolios, contributors confront in new ways questions at the intersection of art, race, and representation.
The book uses saturation as an organizing concept, in part to suggest that current paradigms cannot encompass the complex realities of race. Saturation provides avenues to situate race as it relates to perception, science, aesthetics, the corporeal, and the sonic. In color theory, saturation is understood in terms of the degree to which a color differs from whiteness. In science, saturation points describe not only the moment in which race exceeds legibility, but also how diversity operates for institutions. Contributors consider how racialization, globalization, and the production and consumption of art converge in the art market, engaging such topics as racial capitalism, the aesthetics of colonialism, and disability cultures. They examine methods for theorizing race and representation, including “aboutness,” which interprets artworks by racialized subjects as being “about” race; modes of unruly, decolonized, and queer visual practices that resist disciplinary boundaries; and a model by which to think with and alongside blackness and indigeneity.
Copublished with the New Museum
Saturation evokes visual intensity, sonic density and institutional perceptibility—all with the awareness that representation in cultural structures is not enough.