Afro-Pessimist Aesthetics: An Open Question

The Afro-Pessimist Dossier, edited by Sampada Aranke and Huey Copeland, was first published in ASAP/Journal, Volume 5, Number 2, May 2020. Johns Hopkins University Press has agreed to make it freely available here on ASAP/J for six months. Please feel free to share widely. 

Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, ASAP/Journal is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that explores new developments in post-1960s visual, media, literary, and performance arts. The scholarly publication of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, ASAP/Journal has been awarded prizes for Best New Journal (2017) and Best Design (2016) from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, and is the 2019 PROSE Award recipient for Best New Journal in Humanities. The journal promotes intellectual exchange between artists and critics across the arts and humanities. Recognizing the pluridisciplinary nature of contemporary art and criticism across the globe, the journal publishes methodologically cutting-edge, conceptually adventurous, and historically nuanced research about the arts of the present. Each issue includes an interview with a practicing artist in addition to scholarly essays, an editors’ forum, and other regular features. You can visit the journal’s homepage here

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Sampada Aranke (PhD, Performance Studies) is an assistant professor in the Art History, Theory, Criticism Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her research interests include performance theories of embodiment, visual culture, and black cultural and aesthetic theory. Her work has been published in e-flux, Artforum, Art Journal, Periscope: Social Text Online, Equid Novi: African Journalism Studies, and Trans-Scripts: An Interdisciplinary Online Journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences at UC Irvine. She has written catalogue essays for Sadie Barnette, Faith Ringgold, Rashid Johnson, Kambui Olujimi, Sable Elyse Smith, and Zachary Fabri. Photo credit: Kristie Kahnns

Huey Copeland is an Associate Professor of Art History at Northwestern University. His research and teaching focus on contemporary art with an emphasis on articulations of blackness in the Western visual field. Copeland has published in leading journals, from American Art to Small Axe, as well as in numerous international exhibition catalogues and essay collections. The author of Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (University of Chicago Press, 2013), Copeland is currently at work on a suite of book projects that further explore the intersections of race, gender, and the aesthetic in the modern world.