Yale professor Robert Farris Thompson is a living legend. He started writing about the African heritage in the art and music of the Americas when no one recognized the continuities, when African-American studies did not exist and the Civil Rights Movement still met with violent opposition. This book presents the best of the essays on Afro- Atlantic art and music that Thompson wrote from 1963 to 2006. Edited for this publication, they offer a riveting guide to Afro-Atlantic culture, from the tango to James Hampton's glittering Throne of the Third Heaven.One significant piece on David Hammons, a leading figure in contemporary art, appears here for the first time. Among a staggering array of topics, other essays consider bus painting in Haiti; Jean-Michel Basquiat's love of jazz; hip-hop; Cuban Kongo altars and the art of Jose Bedia; Betye Saar and vodun; Renee Stout, healing, and the nkisi-charm; Keith Haring, the dancer; American yard art and bottle trees; Umbanda altars; and the ethos transmitted in the aesthetic of the 'cool'. Many of the color illustrations reproduce Thompson's photographs of dance, altars, and lost masterpieces of yardart.
Aesthetic of the Cool
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