New York Times Publishes First-Ever, Art-Themed Issue of Sunday Book Review

MARILYN MINTER, “Wangechi Gold #4,” 2009 (c-print) via Salon 94.

 MARILYN MINTER, “Wangechi Gold #4,” 2009 (c-print) via Salon 94.

From Culture Type:

FEATURING “ILLUSTRATED BOOKS, art-themed fiction, artist biography, nonfiction about the art world, original photography and original artwork,” the New York Times published its first-ever art-themed Sunday Book Review section today (June 28, 2015). The print version arrived in this morning’s paper, but the reviews began appearing online Wednesday and a specially designed web page featuring all of the content in the issue went live early on Friday.

Several black artists are featured in the literary supplement. The special issue includes reviews of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye‘s first monograph, a new volume on Jacob Lawrence‘s ‘Migration Series,’ and two books about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The issue’s hallmark is a series of visual book reviews by five artists, Wangechi Mutu and Jacolby Satterwhite, among them.

Art critic Holland Carter’s review of four volumes about contemporary painting and the state of 21st century art offers some context about the cultural and commercial fluctuations of the art world.

In the 1980s Carter writes, “With the market in disarray, some gate-crashing happened and new kinds of art came in. Work by ­African-American, Asian-American and Latin American artists finally gained admission, bringing politics with it. AIDS and the culture wars intensified the politics. For the first time in memory, art felt fused to life.”

He adds: “But the racial and ethnically uniform art establishment — museums, big galleries, major collectors, mainstream critics — never really went for any of this. And when the economy got back on track, it didn’t have to. By the turn of the millennium the old machinery was up and juiced.”

“Afrodizzia (2nd Version)” (1996), a painting by Chris Ofili, accompanies Cotter’s review, but the most compelling image in the issue is a Marilyn Minter photograph of Mutu, the result of a collaboration between the two artists. Tightly focused on the Mutu’s nose and mouth—her skin is dusted with flecks of gold and her top lip is bright blue, while gold paint covers her teeth and flows over her bottom lip. “Wangechi Gold 4” (2009) illustrates a review of the exhibition catalog “Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty.”

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