Any Day Now: Toward a Black Aesthetic (ekphrasis) (Paperback)

Any Day Now: Toward a Black Aesthetic (ekphrasis) By Larry Neal, Allie Biswas Cover Image

Any Day Now: Toward a Black Aesthetic (ekphrasis) (Paperback)


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A comprehensive and inspiring collection of essays by Larry Neal, a founder of the seminal Black Arts Movement

“The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. Black Art is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America.”
—Larry Neal, The Drama Review, 1968

Larry Neal, a poet, dramatist, and critic, was a founding figure of the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s in New York. Writing as the arts editor for Liberator magazine, a radical journal published in Harlem, Neal called for Black artists to produce work that was politically oriented, rooted in the Black experience, and written for the Black community. Engaging with fiction, music, drama, and poetry in his texts, he challenged the dominance of the Western art-historical canon and charged Black artists and writers with reshaping artistic traditions according to their own history. As he proclaimed in his essay “The Black Writer’s Role,” written in 1966, “Black writers must listen to the world with their whole selves––their entire bodies. Must make literature move people. Must want to make our people feel, the way our music makes them feel.”

The writer Allie Biswas, who selected the texts Neal wrote from 1964 to 1978 included here, introduces the volume, illuminating the rich and varied context in which he produced his work.
Cultural critic and playwright Larry Neal (1937–1981) was a leading member of the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. He was born in Atlanta and grew up in Philadelphia, earning a BA in English and history from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He also studied folklore as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he served as the arts editor for Liberator, where he published many of his essays about art. His collections of poetry, Black Boogaloo: Notes on a Black Literature (1969) and Hoodoo Hollerin Bebop Ghosts (1971), show the influence of vernacular speech and folklore.

Allie Biswas is a writer and editor based in London. In 2021, she coedited The Soul of a Nation Reader: Writings by and about Black American Artists, 1960–1980, a compendium of rarely seen historical texts that address the role of art during the civil rights movement. She has published interviews with artists including Theaster Gates, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Meleko Mokgosi, Zanele Muholi, Adam Pendleton, and Wolfgang Tillmans. Her essays have appeared in books on Serge Alain Nitegeka, Reginald Sylvester II and Woody De Othello, amongst other artists. Most recently, she has contributed texts to Portia Zvavahera (David Zwirner Books, 2023), Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Machine, Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art, and Frank Bowling: Sculpture. She is currently editing a monograph about the artist Hew Locke.
Product Details ISBN: 9781644231203
ISBN-10: 1644231204
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 112
Language: English
Series: ekphrasis
“Neal wrote extensively about the chasm between art and the Black experience, inviting artists to produce politically charged works that are anchored in Black history and oriented toward the Black community”
— Widewalls