New Book | Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery

Posted in books by Editor on November 7, 2022

From the University of California Press:

Caitlin Meehye Beach, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2022), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0520343269, £47 / $60.

From abolitionist medallions to statues of bondspeople bearing broken chains, sculpture gave visual and material form to narratives about the end of slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery sheds light on the complex—and at times contradictory—place of such works as they moved through a world contoured both by the devastating economy of enslavement and by international abolitionist campaigns. By examining matters of making, circulation, display, and reception, Caitlin Meehye Beach argues that sculpture stood as a highly visible but deeply unstable site from which to interrogate the politics of slavery. With focus on works by Josiah Wedgwood, Hiram Powers, Edmonia Lewis, John Bell, and Francesco Pezzicar, Beach uncovers both the radical possibilities and the conflicting limitations of art in the pursuit of justice in racial capitalism’s wake.

Part of the Phillips Collection Book Prize Series and supported by the Simpson Imprint in Humanities.

Caitlin Meehye Beach is Assistant Professor in Art History and Affiliated Faculty in African and African American Studies at Fordham University.



Introduction — ‘Within a Few Steps of the Spot’: Art in an Age of Racial Capitalism
1  Grasping Images: Antislavery and the Sculptural
2  ‘The Mute Language of the Marble’: Slavery and Hiram Powers’s The Greek Slave
3  Sentiment, Manufactured: John Bell and the Abolitionist Image under Empire
4  Relief Work: Edmonia Lewis and the Poetics of Plaster
5  Between Liberty and Emancipation: Francesco Pezzicar’s The Abolition of Slavery
Coda — ‘Sculptured Dream of Liberty’

List of Illustrations

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