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Book Recommendations – June 2020

Amid the significant movement of our nation and in efforts to lift Black voices, our June book recommendations address and highlight the lack of Black representation in the art world, underline how systematic racism has contributed to this and other injustices for Black Americans, and offer insights on how art can contribute to much-needed change.

Click here to browse May’s recommendations.

About Ekphrasis

The Museum’s reading group is expanding! ​All individuals are invited to join Ekphrasis regardless of Museum membership. If you would like to join Ekphrasis, please complete ​the form​ below​.

Membership Form

Vote for 2020–2021 Reading Selections

If you have​ any questions, please contact Brandy Morrison at bmorrison@mmfa.org.

Related Program

This Is What I Know About Art Discussion [via Zoom]
Wednesday, August 12; Noon

More details to come.

Art and Upheaval

Book

Art and Upheaval: Artists on the World’s Frontlines

Author

William Cleveland

Why You Should Read

“This beautifully written book reads like a collection of stories from voices across the world, woven together to exemplify the power of art as a tool for activism. It helps us understand that activist art isn’t just a thing in countries often thought of as being in peril, and art for change isn’t limited to visual arts. Art and Upheaval sheds light on stories from Australia, South Africa, the United States, Serbia, and more, and lifts up voices of artists who create with purpose through visual, performance, and language arts. Art is a universal language; even when words can’t be understood, creative expressions speak loud and clear.” – Laura Bocquin, MMFA Assistant Curator of Education

Where to Purchase

Physical: Amazon, Bookshop | Digital: Kindle

Related Content

Artists+Actvisim: Let’s Talk

Exhibiting Blackness

Book

Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum

Author

Bridget R. Cooks

Why She Wrote It

“Visiting and working in mainstream museums, I found the regular omission of art on view that had been created by African American artists. When there was an art exhibition of their work, I noticed a few other things: First, African American artists were featured in museums within group exhibitions about Black identity. They were not regularly shown in thematic-based exhibitions organized around a style of art or specific topic. And rarely was their work shown alongside artists who were not Black; Second, the object labels for art by African American artists stated that the artists were Black, however, labels for art by White artists did not identify them as White. Third, when an exhibition of works by African American artists was on view, the majority of White museum visitors who commented to me about the exhibition stated that they had never seen art by an African American artist before. They believed that the exhibition was the first of its kind, and they wanted to know more.

What most people did not know was that there have been African American artists for hundreds of years. There has also been a history of White supremacy in museums since their origins in the nineteenth century. I wanted to create a well-researched text and critical analysis that would make the history of African Americans and art museums accessible. My hope was for American art museums and art critics to do better work in the future.” – Bridget R. Cooks

Where to Purchase

Physical: Amazon, Bookshop

Related Content

Interview with Bridget Cooks, UC Irvine

This Is What I Know About Art

Book

This Is What I Know About Art

Author

Kimberly Drew

Why You Should Read

“This book delves into the hidden (or not so hidden) obstacles that minorities face when trying to enter the art realm. In this book, Drew exposes the realities of Black professionals entering the art world–the wage disparities, the lack of opportunities, the absence of Black artists in a variety of appropriate spaces, the burden of dealing with white guilt. She also discusses why and how Black people do not engage with art and museums in the same way. Through this work, the reader becomes enlightened and empowered, something that is greatly needed in today’s world.” – Cassandra Cavness, MMFA Development Assistant

Where to Purchase

Physical: Amazon, Bookshop | Digital: Apple Books, Kindle | Audiobook: Apple Books, Audible

Related Content

Kimberly Drew’s Instagram

Related Program

Book Discussion [via Zoom]
Wednesday, August 12; Noon

More details to come.

White Fragility

Book

White Fragility: Why is it so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism?

Author

Robin DiAngelo

Why You Should Read

“It’s an excellent read. She gives thorough and diverse examples of racism in society. The book addresses many issues including white supremacy and how all people can work together to engage more constructively. I read it in two days!

As for how it applies to the art world? I think it will give everyone a different perspective on why black artists and their artwork are crucial and should be represented in museums and galleries.” – Cynthia Milledge, MMFA Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Where to Purchase

Physical: Amazon, Bookshop | Digital: Apple Books, Kindle | Audiobook: Apple Books, Audible

Related Content

‘Interrupt The Systems’: Robin DiAngelo On ‘White Fragility’ And Anti-Racism