Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s
Kobena Mercer is Professor of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University. He is author of Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies, editor of Cosmopolitan Modernisms, among other titles, and an inaugural recipient of the 2006 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing.
The Cross-Cultural and the Contemporary
Accompanying a 2010 survey exhibition on global trends in twenty-first-century art, this chapter argues that a diasporic approach to the impact of globalization on art today not only distinguishes between market-driven spectacle and critically engaged practices but also cautions against the view that interprets shifts from modern and postmodern to contemporary in a linear narrative that terminates in “post-black.” Such a narrative does not comprehend the temporalities of deferral and return that allow diaspora and postcolonial artists to examine the condition of “aftermath” in present-day predicaments with a historical depth of insight that comes from shared experiences of survival in the lived experience of modernity as catastrophe.