Book launch
Kobena Mercer: Travel & See

Friday 7 Oct, 7 - 9pm

Autograph ABP, Rivington Place

London, UK

Free event

Join us for a glass of wine to celebrate the launch of acclaimed writer and historian Kobena Mercer’s latest book Travel & See (2016).


  • A talk by the author exploring the themes of his latest work
  • A Q&A session for the audience
  • A free glass of wine

Read more

Over the years, Kobena Mercer has critically illuminated the visual innovations of African American and black British artists. In Travel & See he presents a diasporic model of criticism that gives close attention to aesthetic strategies while tracing the shifting political and cultural contexts in which black visual art circulates. In eighteen essays, which cover the period from 1992 to 2012 and discuss such leading artists as Isaac Julien, Renée Green, Kerry James Marshall, and Yinka Shonibare, Mercer provides nothing less than a counternarrative of global contemporary art that reveals how the “dialogical principle” of cross-cultural interaction not only has transformed commonplace perceptions of blackness today but challenges us to rethink the entangled history of modernism as well.

"In Travel & See, his second eagerly awaited collection of writings, Kobena Mercer offers a probing and multifaceted exploration of how the dialogics of black diaspora art at once instance and reframe the deep structures of modern and contemporary culture. Featuring thematic accounts as well as essays on individual artists and exhibitions from across the globe, this volume represents a vital contribution to aesthetic discourse from a compelling writer whose journeys and reflections over the last two decades have become models of critical engagement."
- Huey Copeland, author of Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America

 "A marvelous work, Kobena Mercer's Travel & See has the potential to introduce a whole new audience to the work of several artists of the black diaspora, while at the same time shifting our understanding of their artistic practice by radically reframing how we understand the very concept of diaspora and diasporic art. Mercer's persistent challenge to an equation of the diasporic histories of these artists with any semblance of identity or identity politics is a soaring accomplishment."
- Tina M. Campt, author of Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe

Author biography

Kobena Mercer writes and teaches on the visual arts of the black diaspora, examining African American, Caribbean, and Black British artists in modern and contemporary art. His courses and research address cross-cultural aesthetics in transnational contexts where issues of race, sexuality, and identity converge. 

His first book, Welcome to the Jungle (1994), introduced new lines of inquiry in art, photography, and film, and his work features in several interdisciplinary anthologies including Art and Its Histories (1998), The Visual Culture Reader (2001) and Theorizing Diaspora (2003). Mercer is the author of monographic studies on Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Isaac Julien, Renee Green, and Keith Piper, as well as historical studies of James VanDer Zee, Romare Bearden, and Adrian Piper. He is the editor of the Annotating Art’s Histories series, published by MIT and INIVA, whose titles are Cosmopolitan Modernisms (2005), Discrepant Abstraction (2006), Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures (2007), and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (2008). Professor Mercer is an inaugural recipient of the 2006 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing awarded by the Sterling and Francise Clark Art Institute in Massachussetts.

Additional Info

Autograph ABP
Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA

The entrance is on the side of the building

We are located in the heart of Shoreditch, a short walk from Old Street, Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations.
Buses: 26, 43, 48, 55, 67, 149, 205, 242 and 271

Rivington Place is fully accessible, with a lift and step free access to all areas of the building.

Please phone ahead to book a disabled parking bay, or if you would like to discuss your access needs: 020 7749 1240.

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