Huey Copeland’s book explores the ways in which the legacies of slavery are manifested in American art in the last decades of the twentieth century. Focusing on the work of Fred Wilson, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, and Rene Green, Copeland will argue that these artists reframe conceptions of objecthood in modern and contemporary art, and radically re-imagine how blackness might be figured and felt nearly one hundred fifty years after slavery’s ostensible demise. Examining installations by these artists that bracket the visual—employing text, sound, archives, and objects—Copeland’s book will show how their works open a new framework for understanding blackness, slavery, and critical aesthetic practice.
Huey Copeland is an assistant professor of art history at Northwestern University. His 2009 article “Fugitive Tactics: On the Ground with Glenn Ligon and Other Runaway Subjects” is currently under review at Representations. Other articles include “History, Representation, and the Impossible Subject of Race,” published in Qui Parle, “The Blackness of Blackness” (Artforum, 2008), and “How You look is How You Look: A Conversation with Fred Wilson,” forthcoming in Materialising Slavery. He received a PhD from the UC Berkeley in 2006.