Reviews for Wake Up Our Souls : A Celebration of Black American Artists


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
Approximately thirty African-American artists are highlighted in this well-organized book. In clear prose, the author gives us a survey of two hundred years of African-American fine art, devoting equal attention to biography and art history. Reproductions of works are accompanied by excellent brief critiques. Illustration credits, notes, reading list. Glos., ind. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2004 October
This attractive book is a celebration of the contributions African Americans have made to the art world. It is the companion volume to a traveling show of works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The book is divided into chronological chapters that detail the work of slaves and free blacks, the explosion of creativity during the Harlem Renaissance period, and the increasing opportunities and influence enjoyed by post- World War II and contemporary black artists. Author Tonya Bolden's narrative includes biographical information and analysis of the work of more than 30 artists, ranging from the freed slave Joshua Johnson to Harlem Renaissance sculptor Augusta Savage to contemporary photographer Gordon Parks. She discusses both the racism and challenges the artists faced and the ways their art documents the black experience. While the text is both interesting and informative, the real strength of this book is the color reproductions of almost 50 artworks representing a variety of mediums. Each has a photo of the artist and commentary about its significance. This book complements titles with a historical focus, such as The Harlem Renaissance by Veronica Chambers (Chelsea House, 1998), and it could be recommended to researchers, general readers, and art lovers, making it an outstanding choice for all middle and secondary school library collections. Bibliography. Glossary. Highly Recommended. Mary Mueller, Librarian, Rolla (Missouri) Junior High School © 2004 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 March #1
Wake Up Our Souls: A Celebration of Black American Artists by Tonya Bolden offers a thorough look into the lives of black artists. She begins with artists such as sculptor Edmonia Lewis and painter Edward Mitchell Bannister and chronicles the racism and discrimination these and later artists faced-forces that often inspired visually arresting works, such as Norman Lewis's Evening Rendezvous (1962), a chilling, abstract portrayal of Ku Klux Klan activity in a red, white and blue palette. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 July
Gr 6 Up-The unique place of African-American art in our culture is celebrated in this brightly designed volume, produced in conjunction with the Smithsonian's American Art Museum. Bolden's writing is rich and lyrical. She smoothly incorporates the historical context, explaining pivotal events and relevant artistic movements clearly and succinctly. One notable example is her discussion of the civil rights movement and the formation of Spiral, a group whose members debated the role of their art in the movement, resulting in the 1965 exhibition, Works in Black and White. All of the art is from the museum's collection. The reproductions are of top quality, but in a few instances, a major work of an artist is discussed but not pictured. Also, occasional sidebars or inserts, which feature lengthy biographical sketches and discussions of the artists' work, sometimes interrupt the flow of the text. A glossary of artistic terms, source notes for the original quotes used, and an index complete this welcome addition to art history collections.-Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2004 August
Published in association with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this colorful volume presents a conspectus to the black American artistic legacy. Celina Carvalho's exceptional and dynamic visual design accentuates the book's artwork and enlivens Bolden's text, which documents the achievements and struggles of selected artists from the late twentieth century to the present. Boldly formatted photographs and biographical sketches of featured artists dissect the ongoing narrative, and nearly fifty prominent artistic works are reproduced with informative captions to augment the text. Works represent a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums, including Jacob Lawrence's vibrant painting,The Library; Gordon Park's haunting photograph, Fort Scott, Kansas; Augusta Savage's majestic sculpture, Lift Every Voice and Sing; and Faith Ringgold's spirited quilt,The Bitter Nest, Part II. Bolden's narrative, dulled by contrived transitions and ponderous focus on the obstacles and struggles faced by the artists featured, is salvaged by the design. Readers will find much to awaken their souls, and the excellent glossary of art terms, comprehensive index, and germane recommended reading suggestions make the book a valuable art reference resource for teens. Librarians and educators struggling to find appropriate young adult titles to supplement American and African American bookshelves will also want to consider Rochelle's Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2000) and Sullivan's Children of Promise: African-American Literature and Art for Young People (Harry N. Abrams, 2002).-Sherry Korthals. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. 3Q 2P M J S Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

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