Back to Black

Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary—the book to accompany the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition of 2005


Richard J Powell. David A Bailey, and Petrine Archer-Straw


Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2005
Back to BlackBack to BlackBack to Black

Printing Details

First edition. Hardback, bound in the original black boards with gilt titling to upper boards, gilt titling to spine, and gilt motif to the rear board. 25.5 × 17.5cm, 192pp.

This now rare book accompanied the exhibition of the same name at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 2005. Both book and exhibition are unique in their transnational and interdisciplinary approach to the heyday of black political consciousness, namely the ’60s and ’70s. A selection of artists from the US, Britain, and the Caribbean, are presented to show a vast swath of diasporic works and concepts, from the originative (Romare Bearden) to the brilliantly blaxploitational (Melvin Van Peebles) to the perennially cool (David Hammons).

The book is illustrated throughout, with photographs and double-page spreads. The text consists of three curatorial essays: 1. Racial Imaginaries, from Charles White's Preacher to Jean-Paul Goude's & Grace Jones' Nigger Arabesque by Richard J Powell, 2. Be Black Baby: Cinematic Narratives & the Racial Imagination by David A Bailey, 3. Birmingham & Babylon: Rainbow Dreams Back to Back by Petrine Archer-Straw. Other essays are 1. Brothers & Sisters by Kellie Jones, 2. Art & Revolution by Kathleen Cleaver, 3. Afrofuturist Cineculture in an Age of Cultural Revolution by Kodwo Eshun, 4. Blaxploitation in Africa by Manthia Diawara, 5. 'No, I do not have the right to be a Negro'. Black vernacular, visual culture & the poetry of the future by Paul Gilroy, 6. Everyday People: Vanley Burke & the Ghetto as Genre by Mora J Beauchamp-Byrd. These are followed by a list of exhibited works.


Generally in very good condition, but with light surface abrasion to the front board, and some light surface wear to the rear. The apparent slight loss to the gilt titling is part of the design and replicated on other copies. The contents are in very good condition, with clean pages and secure binding.



Back to BlackBack to BlackBack to Black

Browse by Date


Browse by