The California African American Museum (CAAM) and Art + Practice (A+P) are pleased to host esteemed author, curator, and Associate Professor in Art History and Archaeology and African American Studies at Columbia University Dr. Kellie Jones, who will discuss and sign her new book South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s in conversation with CAAM Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Programs, Naima J. Keith.
In South of Pico Kellie Jones explores how artists during the 1960s and 1970s in Los Angeles’ black communities created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. Emphasizing the importance of African American migration, as well as Los Angeles’ housing and employment politics, Jones shows how the work of black Angeleno artists such as Betye Saar, Charles White, Noah Purifoy, and Senga Nengudi spoke to the dislocation of migration, Los Angeles’ urban renewal, and restrictions on black mobility. Jones characterizes their works as modern migration narratives that look to the past to consider real and imagined futures. She also attends to these artists’ relationships with gallery and museum culture as well as the establishment of black-owned arts spaces. With South of Pico, Jones expands the understanding of the histories of black arts and creativity in Los Angeles and beyond.
South of Pico will be available for purchase at the event thanks to Eso Won Books.
PRAISE FOR SOUTH OF PICO:
“[A] deeply researched, panoramic depiction of how black artists made not only great art, but their own art world in Los Angeles during two crucial decades…. Quite simply, the history, not just of art in Los Angeles, but of modern American art generally will have to be reconceived on the basis of South of Pico and Now Dig This!.”— Barry Schwabsky, Hyperallergic
“A gifted and original scholar, Kellie Jones offers unique and stimulating insights into the role L.A.’s close-knit African American artists and communities played in creating art spaces in museums, cultural centers, and storefronts. South of Pico is broad in scope, tracing the narratives of oft-neglected artists, exploring the contributions of women artists and feminist visual theory, and highlighting the history of collecting by Hollywood movie stars and entertainers. Wonderfully innovative and extraordinarily researched, South of Pico is a foundational study for western American art.” — Deborah Willis, author of Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present
“Born of decades of research as well as her award-winning exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980, this brilliant book by Kellie Jones narrates the rise of this African American art world. Examining the migration of black visual artists to Los Angeles, she discloses the geography of the artistic invention against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, Black Power and arts activism, and violent unrest. With this volume, Professor Jones has authored a nuanced and essential history of African American art in the West.” — Henry Louis Gates Jr.