Black Male is the popular image of African-American men has gone through several transformations since the rise of the Black Power movement in the late 1960s. This book, which is the catalogue of an exhibition that opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in November 1994, chronicles these changing perceptions of African-American masculinity as interpreted in painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed-media work, as well as in film and video. More than 70 works have been selected, by 29 leading artists of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons, Robert Mapplethorpe, Adrian Piper, Andres Serrano, and Lorna Simpson, among others, explore such issues as personal identity, sexuality, and social history. Black Male includes six essays by leading voices in African-American art criticism and cultural studies: Elizabeth Alexander bell hooks, Isaac Julien and Kobena Mercer, Tricia Rose, Andrew Ross, and Greg Tate.
The film and video section of Black Male is the work of five scholars in African-American studies. Herman Gray, Ed Guerrero, Philip Brian Harper, Valerie Smith, and Clyde Taylor each curated a film and video programme, and their essays examine critical and theoretical points of view concerning mainstream and independent film and video as well as commercial television. Essays by Thelma Golden and John G. Hanhardt present overviews of the problems and challenges confronted by representations of black masculinity in the various forms of artistic expression.