Blackface.
Photographs by David Levinthal. Text by Manthia Diawara.
Arena Editions, Santa Fe, 1999. 158 pp., 97 four-color illustrations, 11x12".

Publisher's Description

From his very first monograph, Hitler Moves East, David Levinthal has made a career out of presenting serious historical and social issues through tableaus of children's toys. This latest work takes the history of American racism head-on, starkly depicting the ironically collectable 'black memorabilia' remaining from the Vaudeville era.

Of all of David Levinthal's series of photographs, none is more challenging and provocative than his Blackface series, created over a period of three years. In his blow-up images of miniature toys he has recreated scenes of racism, genocide, and sexual fantasies. This series explores the Blackface myth embodied in 'black memorabilia,' household objects infused with African-American stereotypes. These images make the Blackface myth speak to us directly, without an intermediary, and demand a response from us regardless of our race, age, or gender. Levinthal's Blackface images present a paradox, one that pits the beauty of photographic representation against the racism underscored by these ignoble objects. Magnified with a 20 x 24-inch Polaroid camera, the Blackface pictures explore viewer subjectivity and question the manufacture and popularity of 'black memorabilia,' particularly the recent resurgence of their collectibility among African Americans. The photographs are accompanied by an in-depth essay by noted writer, critic, and filmmaker Manthia Diawara, an expert on the representation of African Americans in film, photography and popular media. This book promises to make a significant contribution to contemporary African-American studies.

OUT-OF-PRINT: All trade copies are first edition copies, as-new, in the publisher's original shrinkwrap.


About The Limited Edition: Printed in an edition of 100 signed and numbered copies. Comes with a signed and numbered 8'x10' cibachrome print. Housed with a SIGNED and numbered copy of the book in a red, clothbound, clamshell box.

This copy is #52/100.

CONDITION: The LTD print is in pristine condition. The book is in fair condition (spine has separated from the text block along the rear hinge and has not been repaired); otherwise the book and clamshell box are fine.


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