As the discipline of Art History increasingly aims to decolonize the gaze, questions have become paramount around cross-cultural influence and indebtedness, the traffic and translation of forms and ideas in the colonial modern era, and the mechanisms of postcolonial retrospection.

Harney addresses these questions and the resonances of aesthetic primitivism in scholarship on African and diasporic modernisms and global contemporary artistic practices through a critical review of their weight within three recent volumes: Suzanne Preston Blier's Picasso's Demoiselles: The Untold Origins of a Modern Masterpiece (Duke UP, 2019), Joshua I. Cohen's The Black Renaissance: African Sculpture and Modernism Across Continents (UC Berkeley, 2020) and David Joselit's Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization (MIT, 2020).

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