Friday, January 09, 2009

Pg. 99: G. Lock and D. Murray's "The Hearing Eye"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: The Hearing Eye: Jazz & Blues Influences in African American Visual Art, edited by Graham Lock and David Murray.

About The Hearing Eye, from the publisher:
The widespread presence of jazz and blues in African American visual art has long been overlooked. The Hearing Eye makes the case for recognizing the music's importance, both as formal template and as explicit subject matter. Moving on from the use of iconic musical figures and motifs in Harlem Renaissance art, this groundbreaking collection explores the more allusive - and elusive - references to jazz and blues in a wide range of mostly contemporary visual artists.

There are scholarly essays on the painters Rose Piper (Graham Lock), Norman Lewis (Sara Wood), Bob Thompson (Richard H. King), Romare Bearden (Robert G. O'Meally, Johannes Völz) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (Robert Farris Thompson), as well an account of early blues advertising art (Paul Oliver) and a discussion of the photographs of Roy DeCarava (Richard Ings). These essays are interspersed with a series of in-depth interviews by Graham Lock, who talks to quilter Michael Cummings and painters Sam Middleton, Wadsworth Jarrell, Joe Overstreet and Ellen Banks about their musical inspirations, and also looks at art's reciprocal effect on music in conversation with saxophonists Marty Ehrlich and Jane Ira Bloom.

With numerous illustrations both in the book and on its companion website, The Hearing Eye reaffirms the significance of a fascinating and dynamic aspect of African American visual art that has been too long neglected.
Read more about The Hearing Eye on the Oxford University Press web site.

An excerpt from the book, in which Joe Overstreet discusses his painting Strange Fruit, is available in the December 2008 issue of the online magazine Point of Departure.

Graham Lock is a freelance writer, Special Lecturer in American Music, University of Nottingham, and author, Forces in Motion: Anthony Braxton and the Meta-reality of Creative Music, Chasing the Vibration: Meetings with Creative Musicians, and Blutopia: Visions of the Future and Revisions of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington and Anthony Braxton, and editor, Mixtery: A Festschrift for Anthony Braxton.

David Murray is Professor of American Studies, University of Nottingham, and author, Indian Giving: Economies of Power in Early Indian-White Exchanges, Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing and Representation in North American Indian Texts, and Matter, Magic and Spirit: Representing Indian and African American Belief.

The Page 99 Test: Thriving on a Riff.

The Page 99 Test: The Hearing Eye.

--Marshal Zeringue