The first comparative history of African American and Black British artists, artworks, and art movements, Stick to the Skin traces the lives and works of over fifty twentieth- and twenty-first-century painters, photographers, sculptors, and mixed-media assemblage, installation, video, and performance artists. Working in the United States and Britain from 1965 to 2015, the African diasporic artists featured in this book cut to the heart of hidden histories, untold narratives, and missing memories to tell stories that “stick to the skin” and arrive at a new “Black lexicon of liberation.”
Informed by extensive research and invaluable oral testimonies from the artists themselves, Celeste-Marie Bernier's writing sheds light on African American and Black British art-making traditions and presents an extremely important intervention not only into European histories of modern and contemporary art and visual culture but also into debates within African American studies, African diasporic studies, and Black British studies. This remarkable text forcibly asserts the originality and importance of Black artists’ work over this period, and underscores the need to understand Black art as a distinctive category of cultural production. Among the artists included are Benny Andrews, Bessie Harvey, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Noah Purifoy, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Joyce J. Scott, Maud Sulter, and Barbara Walker.
Celeste-Marie Bernier is Professor of Black Studies and Personal Chair in English Literature, University of Edinburgh. She is the author of African American Visual Arts, Characters of Blood: Black Heroism in the Transatlantic Imagination, Suffering and Sunset: World War I in the Art and Life of Horace Pippin and (with Andrew Taylor) If I Survive: Frederick Douglass and Family in the Walter O. Evans Collection.