Riff: African American Artists and the European Canon

    The five invited essays included in this section offer nuanced readings of artists spanning nearly a century, whose engagement with European art and artistic tradition vary from full-throated adulation to subtle and unspoken resonances. Contributors include Jacqueline Francis, Nikki A. Greene, Julie L. McGee, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, and James Smalls, with an introduction by Adrienne L. Childs and a response by John P. Bowles.

Bully Pulpit

Confederate Monuments, Public Memory, and Public History

Dell Upton is the guest editor for the Bully Pulpit included in this issue, in which he has followed up on the theme of his current book “What Can and Can’t Be Said: Race, Uplift, and Monument Building in the Contemporary South” (Yale University Press) by asking a team of individuals critically engaged with public art, memory, and the nation about the recent debates around Confederate monuments and efforts to recognize histories of lynching. Contributors include Upton as well as Renée Ater, Sarah Beetham, and Kirsten Pai Buick.

Research Notes

“If You Can Read This . . .”: Winslow Homer’s “The Gulf Stream” and the Viewing of His Pictures

Marc Simpson, Independent Scholar

To anyone who had the temerity to press a nose against the picture, to sniff at or try to smell it, he gave a clear message. In the lower left corner, just below his signature and the painting’s date, Homer wrote in light-colored script, as if it were flotsam from a wreck: “At 12 feet from this picture/you can see it.”

The Goddess in the Basement

Margaret Adler, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

I confess to a bit of a Diana fixation. I share one salient commonality with the expert ancient markswoman, that is, a history as a competitive toxophilite (lover of archery). As a seasoned archer but a fledgling curator, I would jokingly remark that my preference would be to work for an art museum whose collection included an Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848­–1907) sculpture of Diana.

“From the Slipper of a Sylphide”: A Box by Joseph Cornell

Elizabeth Welch, PhD Candidate, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin

The box commemorates, nearly to the day, the ninth anniversary of Cornell’s relationship with [Lillian] Moore, encapsulating a bit of the sparkle that she had lent to him with her positive response to his early ballet work.