Library: Black History Month

Greenwich February 9th, 2018

The Brant Foundation’s Library features a selection of resources inspired by Black History Month.

Explore the works of Nina Chanel Abney, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Thornton Dial, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Henry Taylor and more.

Click here to learn more about The Brant Foundation’s Programs. 

About The Brant Foundation Library

The Brant Foundation’s library program was established in 2009 to facilitate the appreciation and understanding of contemporary art and to advance our mission of promoting arts education. As both a museum and art study center, the Foundation’s library serves as a crucial resource for students, scholars, and educators by providing access to a unique collection of hard-to-find materials. After noticing the difficulties of obtaining contemporary art publications, typically as a result of rarity or expense, the Foundation was inspired to make efforts to broaden their holdings and increase accessibility to the public.

By reaching out to the surrounding arts community for help, the Foundation has accumulated an actively growing, rich collection of contemporary art books. With the contributions from the many organizations and institutions that share our vision, the public gains access to a wider range of materials used for the scholarly study and examination of contemporary art. Housing over 1,000 volumes – from exhibition catalogs and artist monographs to art criticism texts and periodicals – the library reflects the Foundation’s collection and admiration of contemporary art. Because of the rarity and value of the materials, our library is non-circulating, but we welcome and encourage the public to make use of the study center during operating hours. Please contact to make an appointment to visit The Brant Foundation’s library.


30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection

by Franklin Sirmans,‎ Glenn Ligon,‎ Robert Hobbs,‎ Michele Wallace

Since the 1960s, Miami’s Rubell family has collected the works of the most relevant contemporary African American artists as an integral part of their broader mission to collect the most interesting art of our time. 30 Americans serves as both the catalogue for their current exhibition of African American art at the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans and a visual record of the Rubell family’s diverse collection, which spans genres and generations. This expanded third edition contains not only artists long collected by the Rubells such as Robert Colescott, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Renée Green, David Hammons, Barkley Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker and Carrie Mae Weems, but also those who have recently been catapulted to the forefront of the art world, such as Kalup Linzy, Nick Cave, Iona Rozeal Brown, Rashid Johnson, Mikalene Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Kehinde Wiley and Wangechi Mutu.

  • Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush

Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush

Abney’s first solo museum exhibition, Royal Flush will be comprised of the artist’s large-scale paintings, along with smaller collages and watercolors. While her work has strong ties to important modernist forebears such as Robert Colescott, Stuart Davis, Romare Bearden, and Faith Ringgold, among others, its distinct and arresting visual articulation of the human condition is inherently suited to the rapid-fire and unceasing quality of the Digital Age. Her dense and colorful iconography, a skillful engagement with serious issues, and the provocative way in which she addresses them has brought this young artist increasing critical acclaim in the contemporary art world.
Royal Flush will be on display at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from February 16 to July 16, 2017.

Contributors: Jamillah James, Natalie Y. Moore, Marshall N. Price, Richard J. Powell, Sarah Schroth

Publication of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 

Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine

by Carol Thompson,‎ Rene Paul Barilleaux,‎ Manthia Diawara,‎ Michael Rooks

This book offers the first mid-career survey of work by emerging American artist Radcliffe Bailey. Ceaseless experimentation is the driving force behind Radcliffe Bailey’s extraordinarily diverse body of work. In the past decade alone he has created sculptures, paintings, installations, and works on paper, incorporating everything from coffee to glass to sheet music to tobacco leaves. This volume reproduces
more than 70 works, many of which have never been published before, and considers Bailey’s work in a major essay and four shorter discussions. In these large- and small-scale pieces Bailey explores ideas of ancestry, race, memory, struggle, and sacrifice, including the artist’s own engagement with African sculpture in connection with an investigation into his family’s DNA.

This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 


by Jean Michel Basquiat,‎ Marc Mayer,‎ Fred Hoffman

Born in Brooklyn in1960, Jean-Michel Basquiat was only twenty-seven when he died, his meteoric and often controversial career having lasted for just eight years. Despite his early death, Basquiat’s large and powerful oeuvre has ensured his continuing reputation as one of modern art’s most distinctive and eloquent voices. Borrowing from graffiti and street imagery, cartoons, mythology and religious symbolism, Basquiat’s drawings and paintings explore issues of race and identity, providing social commentary that is shrewdly observed and biting. This book examines and celebrates the achievements of one of the most original artists of the late twentieth century and features spectacular reproductions of Basquiat’s work. Many of Basquiat’s individual works are explored in detail, with particular reference to his working methods and techniques. New perspectives on Basquiat’s achievements, explored in the contexts of the key influences on his work, help to make this an indispensable book that will appeal to anyone interested in contemporary art.

Basquiat a Venezia

This is a monograph from the 48th Venice Biennale.


Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher

by Elena Filipovic,‎ Chris Ofili, Robert Storr,‎ Massimiliano Gioni,‎ Natalie Bell,‎ Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 

The lush oil paintings of London-based Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (born 1977) embrace many of the conventions of historical European portraiture, but expand on that tradition by engaging fictional subjects who often serve as protagonists of the artist’s short stories as well.

These imagined figures are almost always black, an attribute Yiadom-Boakye sees as both political and autobiographical, given her own West African heritage. Her elegant characters come to life through the artist’s bold brushwork, appearing both cavalier and nonchalant. This catalog accompanying her New Museum exhibition features an interview with the artist by Natalie Bell and Massimiliano Gioni, new reflections on Yiadom-Boakye’s work by artist Chris Ofili, and art historians Elena Fillipovic and Robert Storr.

This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 

Nick Cave: Sojourn

by Kyle Macmillan,‎ William Morrow

Sojourn is the catalogue of the eponymous exhibition by artist Nick Cave at The Denver Art Museum, for which he created approximately 40 new works. Made of incredibly diverse collected items, Nick Cave’s wearable sculptures – that he refers to as ‘Soundsuits’ – and multi-sensory installations take the viewer into the artist’s imagination. The catalogue features essays by Kyle MacMillan and William Morrow. 184 pages with a 36 page booklet. The Denver Art Museum described the exhibit as a shared experience between viewer and Nick Cave – “a pioneer among a growing number of artists exploring the intersection of craft, performance and fine art.” The exhibition catalog, brilliantly executed by Faust, was also a shared experience between the talented creative team and the reader. The cover of the 140-page case-bound book features the kaleidoscopic title wall inspired by a photo of ceramic birds taken in the artist’s studio. To further mimic the cutouts in the title wall, the title is diecut into the front cover. Once inside, there is a book within a book: a 36-page perfect-bound journal that chronicles the making of the exhibition. It nests comfortably within a void formed by diecutting the first 40 pages, which were salvaged from the book’s own makeready sheets. Each chapter of the book reflects its respective gallery space, which was an odyssey of media: a passageway constructed of thousands of buttons; large-scale, sculptural items made out of found objects; more than 20 Soundsuits designed to make noise as the wearer moves; and short films.

This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 

Nick Cave: Epitome

As electrifying and colorful as the “Soundsuits” it features, this survey of the renowned artist Nick Cave also features his latest performance work, public installations, and sculptural assemblages. Anyone who’s ever encountered one of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits—whether in a gallery or on the street—can’t help but be fascinated with these brightly hued, provocative constructions that function as both costume and sculpture. The most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, this large-format volume compiles the fantastic Soundsuits, for which the artist is best known, together with his other sculptural work and related projects in video and live performance. The book chronicles the artist’s ingenious use of materials, which began with a Soundsuit constructed entirely from twigs and has since ranged from secondhand rugs and other thrift-store finds to feathers, buttons, beading, and rainbow-dyed synthetic hair. Dazzling images of Cave’s Soundsuits are presented alongside video stills and performance views that capture the current of joyful energy that runs throughout the work. Essays by Elvira Dyangani Ose and Nato Thompson provide an illuminating critical context for the artist’s practice, and an interview by Andrew Bolton explores the artist’s working process and inspirations. Beautiful, insightful, and exciting, this volume will be a must-have for Cave’s ever-growing audience.
This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 
  • Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial

Hard Truths/The Art of Thornton Dial

by Joanne Cubbs,‎ Eugene W. Metcalf

Celebrating Thorton Dial’s contributions to American art, this book surveys the career of one of our most original contemporary artists, whose epic work tackles the most compelling social and political issues of our time. Born in poverty in Alabama, Dial has lived his entire life in the American South, and his art, informed by decades of struggle as a black working-class man, reveals a unique perspective on America’s most difficult and pervasive challenges, such as its long history of race and class conflict, the war in Iraq, and the 9/11 tragedy. This monograph includes reproductions of 70 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found object sculptures spanning twenty years of his artistic career. Drawing inspiration from the rich symbolic world of the black rural South and with no formal education, Dial has developed a truly distinctive and original style. Incorporating salvaged objects in his work-from plastic grave flowers and children’s toys to cow skulls and goat carcasses-he creates highly charged assemblages combined with turbulent fields of expressionistic painting. With commentary from historian David Driskell, cultural critic Greg Tate, and art historian Joanne Cubbs, this volume brings long-overdue recognition to Dial’s remarkable career and offers audiences an unprecedented look into the creative world of this important artist.

Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions

by Glenn Ligon,‎ Francesco Manacorda,‎ Alex Farquharson,‎ Gregg Bordowitz

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960) is one of the most significant American artists of his generation. Much of his work relates to abstract cxpressionism and minimalist painting, remixing formal characteristics to highlight the cultural and social histories of the time, such as the civil rights movement. This new book brings together artworks and other material Ligon references or work with which he shares certain affinities. The book illustrates works by Ligon and other artists—including Chris Ofili, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Lorna Simpson, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Jasper Johns—accompanied by texts by Ligon, Francesco Manacorda, Alex Farquharson, and Gregg Bordowitz, and an anthology of some 20 texts selected/excerpted by Ligon.

Glenn Ligon: Neon

by Glenn Ligon,‎ Jason Moran

This book was generously donated by Luhring Augustine.

Yourself in the World: Glenn Ligon

by Glenn Ligon,‎ Scott Rothkopf

Throughout his career, the artist Glenn Ligon (b. 1960) has been deeply engaged with the written word: his artworks are full of painted, drawn, sculpted, photographed, and printed text. In recent years, Ligon has also emerged as a prolific writer. His articles and critical essays have appeared in exhibition catalogues and leading art magazines and range from trenchant reviews to introspective musings on his own art and life experience.

Edited by Scott Rothkopf, who provides an introduction to Ligon’s written corpus, this impressive volume begins with the artist’s first major essay, a superbly crafted text written in 2004 about the artist David Hammons and his relationship to a younger generation of black artists. In all, ten essays and twelve interviews are included, all of which demonstrate Ligon’s straightforward exposition, ironic asides, knowing pop references, literary citations, and clever turns of phrase. This volume will be an indispensable reader to all those interested in contemporary art and culture.

This book was generously donated by Luhring Augustine.

Glenn Ligon: Some Changes

Glenn Ligon is one of the preeminent members of a generation of American artists who came to prominence in the late 1980s with conceptually-based paintings, photographs and text-oriented works concerning the social, linguistic and political constructions of race, gender and sexuality. Incorporating sources as diverse as photographic scrapbooks and Richard Pryor’s stand-up comedy routines–his lush coal-dust paintings of excerpts from James Baldwin’s 1955 essay “Stranger in the Village,” for instance–Ligon’s art is a meditation on representation of the self in relation to culture and history. Handsomely designed with a hardcover slipcase, Some Changes is the artist’s first significant monograph. Well-illustrated texts by critics and curators Wayne Baerwaldt, Huey Copeland, Darby English, Wayne Koestenbaum and Mark Nash survey Ligon’s works from 1982 to 2005, and a candid interview with Toronto artist Stephen Andrews delves into Ligon’s personal insights and professional experiences.

This book was generously donated by Luhring Augustine. 

Kerry James Marshall

by Greg Tate, Charles Gaines,‎ Laurence Rassel

Alabama-born, Chicago-based Kerry James Marshall is one of the most exciting artists working today. Critically and commercially acclaimed, the painter is known for his representation of the history of African-American identity in Western art. Conversant with a wide typology of styles, subjects, and techniques, from abstraction to realism and comics, Marshall synthesizes different traditions and genres in his work while seeking to counter stereotypical depictions of black people in society. This is the most comprehensive overview available of his remarkable career.

This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 

Kerry James Marshall: Paintings and Other Stuff

Kerry James Marshall (born 1955) is widely admired for his painterly and sculptural explorations of Afro-American identity and history, and his attendant critiques of art history and the art economy. Among his well-known works are Rhythm Mastr, a comic book that transposes African mythology to a contemporary city; the Garden Project, which draws on the idyllic-sounding names given to housing projects; the Lost Boys series, which portrays young, disenfranchised black men; and his gigantic stamps of Black Power slogans. “I’ve always wanted to be a history painter on the grand scale of Giotto and Géricault,” he once said, and he has created many mural-sized canvases interweaving heroic and everyday aspects of recent Afro-American history. This monograph offers the largest retrospective of his works in all media, from painting and sculpture to collage, photography and installation. Limited stock available.

This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 

Kerry James Marshall: Mastery

by Ian Alteveer,‎ Helen Molesworth,‎ Dieter Roelstraete,‎ Abigail Winograd

The definitive monograph on contemporary African American painter Kerry James Marshall, accompanying a major traveling retrospective. This long-awaited volume celebrates the work of Kerry James Marshall, one of America’s greatest living painters. Born before the passage of the Civil Rights Act, in Birmingham, Alabama, and witness to the Watts riots in 1965, Marshall has long been an inspired and imaginative chronicler of the African American experience. Best known for large-scale interiors, landscapes, and portraits featuring powerful black figures, Marshall explores narratives of African American history from slave ships to the present and draws upon his deep knowledge of art history from the Renaissance to twentieth-century abstraction, as well as other sources such as the comic book and the muralist tradition. With luscious color and brushstrokes and highly detailed patterning, his direct and intimate scenes of black middle-class life conjure a wide range of emotions, resulting in powerful paintings that confront the position of African Americans throughout American history. Richly illustrated, this monumental book features essays by noted curators as well as the artist, and more than 100 paintings from throughout the artist’s career arranged thematically by subject: history painting; beauty, as expressed through the nude, portraiture, and self-portraiture; landscape; religion; and the politics of black nationalism.

This book was generously donated by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 

  • Henry Taylor

Henry Taylor

By Laura Hoptman, Naima Keith, Henry Taylor, Peter Eleey

Los Angeles-based artist Henry Taylor (born 1958) applies his brush both to canvas and to unconventional materials–suitcases, crates, cereal boxes, cigarette packs–using everyone and everything around him as source material. While Taylor drew and painted in his youth, he studied art formally only later in life, attending the California Institute of the Arts after working for ten years as a psychiatric nurse at a state hospital. This experience sharpened his interest in, and appreciation for, individuals from all economic and social backgrounds, and encouraged a passion to create an intensely empathetic style of portraiture. Published on the occasion of Taylor’s 2012 exhibition at MoMA PS1, where the artist established his New York studio for the duration of the show, the publication explores Taylor’s ambitious and deeply humanistic project to present a worldview defined by the people–extraordinary and ordinary–with whom we live.

James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas: The Devil and His Blues

by David Serlin,‎ William Ferris,‎ Thomas Lax,‎ Kinshasha Holman Conwill,‎ Velma Allen ,‎ Jonathan Berger,‎ James Thomas

James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas: The Devil and His Blues accompanies the eponymous show at Studio Museum and New York University’s 80WSE Gallery, the largest ever devoted to Thomas’ work. Thomas (1926–1993)―a self-taught African-American artist and musician who lived in severe poverty for most of his life―created small, often painted clay busts of friends and family and people he met. “When I do my sculpturing work things just roll across my mind. I lay down and dream about the sculpture,” he wrote. “That gives you in your head what to do. If you can’t hold it in your head, you can’t do it in your hand.” Nearly 100 of these sculptures are displayed alongside full-bleed installation shots and text contributions by David Serlin, William Ferris, Thomas J. Lax and Kinshasha Holman Conwill, among others.

This book was generously donated by Karma.