Art Deco Diversity
As we get into the twentieth century, events reveal themselves that show just how important a role blacks begin to play in popular culture and the arts. Josephine Baker and American jazz musicians wowed 1920s Paris, and Europeans enthusiastically swayed to the beat from across the Atlantic. From zoot suits to hip hop, we owe black musicians, entertainers, and artists a debt for their contributions to contemporary cool.
Fortunately, scholarship since the 1980s has been at work to rectify the omissions of the first major publications on Art Deco. Just as we’ve learned how African tribal art animated the works of the early Modernist painters and sculptors, so do we now get more information on the people who helped make it the Jazz Age. In 2006, the one-hundredth anniversary of her birth, an exhibition, Josephine Baker: image and icon, paid homage to her legendary career.