Neohoodoo : Art for a Forgotten Faith

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NeoHooDoo, a phrase coined by the poet Ishmael Reed in 1970, celebrates the practice of rituals, folklore, and spirituality in the Americas beyond the scope of Christianity and organized religion. The endurance of these centuries-old traditions of magic and healing are the unique focus of this book. Exploring how spirituality influenced artists in the late 20th century and bringing together an intergenerational group of artists from North, Central, and South America, NeoHooDoo reveals the wider implications of ritualized practice in contemporary art. This book examines the work of thirty-three artists----including Jimmie Durham, David Hammons, Jose Bedia, Rebecca Belmore, and James Lee Byars----who began using ritualistic practices during the 1970s and 1980s as a way of reinterpreting aspects of their cultural heritage. Younger artists such as Tania Bruguera and Michael Joo are shown to have drawn upon the iconography of ritual. The original essays, which range over artistic use of ritual as a form of therapy, catharsis, or political critique, stand alongside contributions from NeoHooDoo's key sources of inspiration: Robert Farris Thompson, Ishmael Reed, and Quincy Troupe.

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  • Hardback | 144 pages
  • 224 x 258 x 22mm | 979.75g
  • Yale University Press
  • New HavenUnited States
  • English
  • 60 b&w illustrations, 40 colour images
  • 0300134185
  • 9780300134186
  • 1,202,756

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Author Information

Franklin Sirmans is curator of modern and contemporary art at The Menil Collection. Jen Budney is curator of the Kamloops Art Gallery in British Columbia. Arthur C. Danto is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. Julia Herzberg is an art historian and curator specializing in Latin American art. Greg Tate is a cultural critic and contributor to The Village Voice and author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk. Robert Farris Thompson is professor in the history of art at Yale University and author of Flash of the Spirit. Quincy Troupe is a renowned poet.

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Review quote

"This audacious book is a welcome reminder that no term in contemporary architectural design is as taboo as 'vernacular spiritual.'"-Norman Weinstein, -- Norman Weinstein

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