The Shadows Took Shape

Edited by Naima J. Keith and Zoe Whitley
Texts by Tegan Bristow; Samuel R. Delany; Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid; Kodwo Eshun; and Alondra Nelson

Designed by Content Object, Kimberly Varella
Casebound Hardcover, 160 pages
Publisher: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2013
ISBN: 978-0942949377
Dimensions: 9 x 12 in.
Printing: Permanent Printing Limited, Hong Kong


The Shadows Took Shape is a dynamic interdisciplinary exhibition exploring contemporary art through the lens of Afrofuturist aesthetics. Coined in 1994 by writer Mark Dery, the term "Afrofuturism" refers to a creative and intellectual genre that emerged as a strategy to explore science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and pan-Africanism. With roots in the avant-garde musical stylings of sonic innovator Sun Ra, Afrofuturism has been used by artists, writers, and theorists as a way to prophesize the future, redefine the present, and reconceptualize the past. This fully illustrated exhibition catalogue features twenty-nine artist entries and essays by the exhibition's curators; an introduction by The Studio Museum Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden; and newly commissioned essays by foremost scholars and writers Tegan Bristow; Samuel R. Delany; Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid; Kodwo Eshun; and Alondra Nelson.

The artists featured in The Shadows Took Shape work in a wide variety of media, including photography, video, painting, drawing, sculpture and multimedia installation. Participating artists include Derrick Adams, John Akomfrah, Laylah Ali, Edgar Arceneaux, Sanford Biggers, Edgar Cleijne + Ellen Gallagher, William Cordova (in collaboration with Nyeema Morgan and Otabenga Jones & Associates), Cristina De Middel, Khaled Hafez, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Kira Lynn Harris, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Wayne Hodge, David Huffman, Cyrus Kabiru, Wanuri Kahiu, Hew Locke, Mehreen Murtaza, Wangechi Mutu, Harold Offeh, The Otolith Group, Robert Pruitt, Sun Ra, RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Larissa Sansour, Cauleen Smith, William Villalongo and Saya Woolfalk.





Photography by Ian Byers-Gamber