A collection of essays edited by artist and organizer Tom Lloyd and first published in 1971, Black Art Notes was a critical response to the Contemporary Black Artists in America exhibition at the Whitney Museum, but grew into a “concrete affirmation of Black Art philosophy as interpreted by eight Black artists,” as Lloyd notes in the introduction.
This facsimile edition features writings by Lloyd, Amiri Baraka, Melvin Dixon, Jeff Donaldson, Ray Elkins, Babatunde Folayemi, and Francis & Val Gray Ward. These artists position the Black Arts Movement outside of white, Western frameworks and articulate the movement as one created by and existing for Black people. Their essays outline the racism of the art world, condemning the attempts of museums and other white cultural institutions to tokenize, whitewash and neutralize Black art, and offer solutions through self-determination and immediate political reform. While the publication was created to respond to a particular moment, the systemic problems that it addresses remain pervasive, making these critiques both timely and urgent.