This stunning exhibition catalog visualizes what freedom looks like for Black Americans today and the legacy of the Civil War in 2023 and beyond.
Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation sits at the intersection of history and contemporary life. Building upon in-depth conversations about representations of enslavement and emancipation at the close of the Civil War, this project originates from an analysis of sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward’s The Freedman (1863), one of the first bronze representations of a Black person in the United States, and expands into an investigation of how living artists envision emancipation, freedom, and liberation today.
Featuring interviews with artists Sadie Barnette, Alfred Conteh, Maya Freelon, Hugh Hayden, Letitia Huckaby, Jeffrey Meris, and Sable Elyse Smith, the exhibition catalog explores their practices along with cutting-edge scholarship by Kirsten Pai Buick and Kelvin Parnell, among others, as well as a haunting story of embodiment and exploitation by celebrated science-fiction author N. K. Jemisin. Burdened by failed promises but buoyed by hope, this project is mournful and melancholy yet also reflective and celebratory in its aspirations for a brighter future.
Published in association with the Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Amon Carter Museum of American Art: March 12–July 9, 2023
Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University: August 5–November 11, 2023
Williams College Museum of Art: February 16–June 16, 2024