Malevich’s BLACK SQUARE–race/racialization as underpinnings of modernism

In Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America, I wrote that “race was discursively central to modernity” and that “modernism depended on the the conceptualization of race in ethnocultural, social, and national terms.” Moreover, I argued that “the idea of the essential subject, as a construct, allowed for the preservation of racist and limiting terms used by admirers and detractors.”

The book’s focus were the conditions of early twentieth-century American modernism. Yet, it’s well-established that some of the ethno-racial preoccupations of US modernism had parallels in Europe. Christian Weikop’s and Esther Schreuder’s research, published in The Image of the Black in Western Art: The Twentieth Century—The Impact Images of Africa, are recent additions to the scholarship as it concerned the modernists of Western and Northern Europe and the modern images of those regions.

But what of Russia and Eastern Europe during the same period? The time is now.

“Russia Discovers Two Secrets Under Avant-Garde Masterpiece”

Art Historians Find Racist Joke Hidden Under Malevich’s BLACK SQUARE


Author: Jacqueline Francis

Writer, educator, curator, arts consultant, and occasional artist in San Francisco, California. Follow me on Twitter @JackieFrancisSF and Instagram--jackiefrancissf

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