5 New Books Focus on Artists Ming Smith, Wangechi Mutu, Romare Bearden, Caribbean Art, and Found Photos of Black Life

Victoria L. Valentine, Culture Type, January 26, 2023

Five newly published illustrated art books celebrate an intergenerational slate of Black artists. The volumes include the first monograph of Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu and books dedicated to the work of Ming Smith and Romare Bearden. A collection of found photographs and contemporary Caribbean art are also explored:


Ming Smith: The Invisible Man

From 1988 to 1991, New York photographer Ming Smith made a moving series of photographs based the opening lines of "The Invisible Man," Ralph Ellison's landmark novel: "I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood movie etoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids, and I might even be said to possess a ming. I am invisible, simply because people refuse to see me." Part of the MoMA One on One Series dedicated to a single work from the museum's colection, this relatively small-format volume focuses on one image from the body of work, "Invisible Man, Somewhere, Everywhere" (1991), a moody street scene featuring a solitary figure. Authorized by photography curator Oluremi C. Onabanjo, the publication coincides with the exhibition "Projects: Ming Smith." Presented in collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem, the show opens at MoMA on Feb. 4.