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black aesthetic


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


The aesthetic program propagated by practitioners of the B lack arts movement during the 1960s. Committed to a radical revaluation of Western aesthetic ideology, black aesthetic theorists claimed to derive their conception of black art from traditional African aesthetics. Against the Western notion of great art as a category that transcends I deology , the black aesthetic stridently declared its political intention of furthering the aims of black nationalism. Refusing the ideology of art for art's sake and fusing aesthetics with E thics , black aesthetic critics regarded artistic form as a transparent medium of moral and political messages, and could justify A rt only if it served the function of raising the cultural consciousness of the black community. Elements of African culture (including clothing, hairstyles, language, music, dance, and religious practices) were appropriated and celebrated by numerous black artists during the 1960s in an attempt to recover an alternative cultural tradition that survived the middle passage and the ensuing history of slavery and political oppression. Affirming the cultural resources of the black community, black aesthetic theorists soundly condemned the Western aesthetic privileging of the individual artist as the source of creation. The collective emphasis of black aesthetic ideology motivated its promotion of certain literary genres over ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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