Holland Cotter: “In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach”

Review of an exhibition:  “A cultural infrastructure supporting the new [1960s] art grew. Revolution-minded galleries, bookstores and presses opened in African-American neighborhoods. … But despite its intense motivational energy, ‘Black Power’ as a movement foundered. … Rival factions, driven by ideologies or personalities, came to blows. The United States government subjected movement participants to unrelenting surveillance and attack. A misogynist streak in the movement, as in American society in general, held firm. The single most universal sign of solidarity, black-is-beautiful fashion, was absorbed by the market, including the entertainment industry, and reduced to commercial fodder, a process already at work in the new protest culture today.”