IRAAA History

A Print Journal of Exceptional Quality to Collect

Volume 1, no. 1, Fall 1976

The International Review of African American Art formerly Black Art: An International Quarterly

Black Art: An International Quarterly made its debut in 1976. It was published by Samella Lewis and two associates and included an article on Elizabeth Catlett with a four-page, color pull-out reproduction of a Catlett print, Boys. The involvement of Lewis and Catlett in this important venture was the flowering of a long association. Lewis, the first African American woman to earn a PH.D. in art history (Ohio State, 1951), had been encouraged to pursue a career in art by Catlett, her first college art teacher and lifelong friend. Black Art:An International Quarterly primarily covered the visual expression of black people in the United States and Africa.

In 1984, Black Art became the International Review of African American Art (IRAAA), as the publication was broadening its focus to include the visual art of African-descended people throughout the Americas. One of the special issues produced during this period was "Bahia: The Power of Tradition" on the visual arts of African-descended people in Brazil. In 1992, the operations of the IRAAA were transferred to Hampton University, Samella Lewis’ undergraduate alma mater.

vol. 4, no. 1

Volume 9.1A Few Publication Highlights

Fall 1976  The premier issue of Black Art: an international quarterly appears.

1980 Cover story on the extraordinary mirage paintings of Avel de Knight.

1981 Cover story of pioneering Afro-Cuban modernist artist Wifredo Lam by Herbert Gentry.  

1982  A special issue on Jacob Lawrence is published. It is the first major publication on the artist.  

1984   BlackArt becomes the International Review of African American Art (IRAAA), as coverage broadens to include the visual art of African-descended people in the Americas. 

Vol. 7, no. 11989  Special issue on the history of African American photographers.

1990 Bahia/Power in Tradition.  The first U.S. periodical publication on the visual art and culture of Bahia, the largely black province of Brazil.

vol. 13, no. 31992  Special African Canadian issue of the journal — the first  survey of black artists from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. 

1995   Three-part series on 18th and 19th century African American visual arts and material culture.

1996  The 20th anniversary of the journal is commemorated with the Two Decades of Momentous Change issue.  Also this year: a special issue on leading-edge African American architects, graphic, interior, industrial and other designers.Volume 11.2

1998  The Art of Political Struggle and Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and ‘70s, special issue guest edited by Jeff Donaldson.

2000 - 2004  Special issues during this period include The Black-Indian Connection in American Art (interfaces between American Indians and African Americans in art),  A Visual Explosion in Harlem(on the proliferation of fine arts activity uptown) and Rhythm of Structure (a look at the relations between mathematics and art for the general reader).

Publication Highlights 2005 to present include:

Volume 24.1Dixie Myths and Downhome Realities, a special issue on African American imagery and archetypes in Southern American culture.

Post-Black, Post-Soul or Hip Hop Iconography? Defining the New Aesthetics.

The Asian Persuasion issue on African American artists who are influenced by the practices and philosophies of the East such as Buddhism, Tantra and the Vedanta.

Volume 23.3

"Blues on the Brush," Rose Piper Blues and Negro Folk Songs Paintings of the 1940s.Volume 24.2

"The Richest Colors on her Palette," the first comprehensive article on the visual arts achievement of Gwendolyn Benett who was more well-known as a poet during the Harlem Renaissance era.

Volume 24.3INNOVATION, an issue on visual art and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The 35th Anniversary Issue

Special issue on collecting: articles cover young art collectors, seasoned collectors and how a collector of very limited means has amassed a collection of works by major, master artists.

Visual Art, Digital Media & Popular Culture issue. Pop goes the art!

The Triple Consciousness issue.  DuBosian double consciousness complicated by globalism.

Information on the current print issue is here.