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Grant number like: FT-264870-19

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Rebecca Elizabeth Keegan VanDiver
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN 37240-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 10/31/2019

Politics of Ephemerality in African American Art Practices, 1965-2015

Preparation of a book on 20th-century African American art that addresses the notion of impermanence.

My book confronts the relationship between Blackness and ephemerality (material, temporal, and political) as manifest in African American contemporary art. I query how African American artists reconcile the permanent (their Blackness) with the ephemeral (the changing socio-cultural moment). The central claim of the project is that some African American artists engage the politics of ephemerality and its associated connections to permanence and impermanence as part of their efforts to respond to states of emergency—government-declared and government-perpetrated. Topics include: the production and archiving of 1960s era civil rights march posters, 1970s Black feminist print-making, collaborative site-specific artworks like the Organization of Black American Culture’s 1967 Wall of Respect mural, Mark Bradford’s use of ephemera in his collages, Kara Walker’s 2006 After the Deluge show, and recent artistic responses to the Black Lives Matter movement.