In this essay, Huey Copeland, taking his cue from artist Glenn Ligon's work on the family photo album, launches a consideration of cultural critic Kobena Mercer's important four-volume series Annotating Art's Histories (2004–8). Copeland argues that these anthologies, a veritable feast of scraps, not only productively reframe histories of modernism in light of structuralist, postcolonial, and cultural studies, but also point toward a new agenda for the description of African diasporic art and, more broadly, for art history's approaches to questions of racial and sexual difference. Ultimately, he contends, annotating black cultural production—and exploring its implications for subjects on all sides of the color line—means thinking seriously about how we constitute our objects of study as well as the methodological techniques we employ to narrate their material and temporal unfolding in the modern world.

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