Emory Douglas speaking at Typo San Francisco in 2014
May 24, 1943 |
Grand Rapids, Michigan
|Known for||Graphic design, painting, collage, drawing|
|Movement||Black Power/Black Arts Movement|
Emory Douglas (born May 24, 1943) worked as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party disbanded in the 1980s. His graphic art was featured in most issues of the newspaper The Black Panther (which had a peak circulation of 139,000 per week in 1970). As the art director, designer, and main illustrator for The Black Panther newspaper, Douglas created images that became icons, representing black American struggles during the 1960s and 1970s.
Life and work
Douglas was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a teenager, Douglas was incarcerated at the Youth Training School in Ontario, California; during his time there he worked in the prison’s printing shop. He later studied commercial art, taking graphic design classes, at San Francisco City College. As Erika Doss wrote, "He also joined the college's Black Students Union and was drawn to political activism."
In 1967 Douglas became Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. In 2007, The San Francisco Chronicle reporter Jessica Werner Zack reported that he "branded the militant-chic Panther image decades before the concept became commonplace. He used the newspaper's popularity to incite the disenfranchised to action, portraying the poor with genuine empathy, not as victims but as outraged, unapologetic and ready for a fight."
Douglas worked at the black community-oriented San Francisco Sun Reporter newspaper for over 30 years after The Black Panther newspaper was no longer published. He continued to create activist artwork. According to Greg Morozumi, of the Bay Area EastSide Arts Alliance, his artwork stayed relevant. "Rather than reinforcing the cultural dead end of "post-modern" nostalgia, the inspiration of his art raises the possibility of rebellion and the creation of new revolutionary culture."
In 2006, artist and curator Sam Durant edited a comprehensive monograph of Black Panther artist Emory Douglas’ work, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, with contributors including Danny Glover, Kathleen Cleaver, St. Clair Bourne, Colette Gaiter (associate professor at the University of Delaware), Greg Morozumi (artistic director of the EastSide Arts Alliance in Oakland, California), and Sonia Sanchez.
After the book's publication, Emory Douglas had retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2007–08) and the New Museum in New York. Since the re-introduction of his early work to new audiences, Emory Douglas continues to make new work, exhibit and interact with audiences in formal and informal settings all over the world. His international exhibitions and visits include Urbis, Manchester England (2008); Auckland, New Zealand, Collaboration with Richard Bell in Brisbane, Australia (2011); Chiapas, Mexico; Lisbon, Portugal (2011)
Colette Gaiter writes:
|“||Douglas was the most prolific and persistent graphic agitator in the American Black Power movements. Douglas profoundly understood the power of images in communicating ideas.... Inexpensive printing technologies—including photostats and presstype, textures and patterns—made publishing a two-color heavily illustrated, weekly tabloid newspaper possible. Graphic production values associated with seductive advertising and waste in a decadent society became weapons of the revolution. Technically, Douglas collaged and re-collaged drawings and photographs, performing graphic tricks with little budget and even less time. His distinctive illustration style featured thick black outlines (easier to trap) and resourceful tint and texture combinations. Conceptually, Douglas’s images served two purposes: first, illustrating conditions that made revolution seem necessary; and second, constructing a visual mythology of power for people who felt powerless and victimized. Most popular media represents middle to upper class people as "normal." Douglas was the Norman Rockwell of the ghetto, concentrating on the poor and oppressed. Departing from the WPA/social realist style of portraying poor people, which can be perceived as voyeuristic and patronizing, Douglas’s energetic drawings showed respect and affection. He maintained poor people’s dignity while graphically illustrating harsh situations.||”|
2011 "ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE – ENTÃO E AGORA": GALERIA ZÉ DOS BOIS, LISBON.
2009 "Emory Douglas: Black Panther"  The New Museum, New York.
2007-08 "Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas" Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Art Papers Magazine; Mar/Apr2014, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p53. "Works Exhibited: Emory Douglas." Carrie Meyer.
Zoot Magazine. 2011. "All Power to the People ‘ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE – ENTÃO E AGORA’: GALERIA ZÉ DOS BOIS, LISBON
Green Left Weekly; 10/14/2009, Issue 813, p4. "Black Panther artist launches exhibition." The article reviews the exhibition All Power to the People, by Emory Douglas at the Milani Gallery in Brisbane, Queensland. Paul Benedek.
Bomb''; Fall 2009, Issue 109, p12. Emory Douglas: Black Panther exhibition New Museum, New York City. David Kramer.
Art Newspaper; Jul/Aug2009, Vol. 18 Issue 204, p58. Emory Douglas: Black Panther exhibition New Museum, New York City. Helen Stoilas.
Museums Journal, (2009) Issue 109/3, 44-47. March. Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution, Urbis, Manchester
Art in America; Jun/Jul2008, Vol. 96 Issue 6, p106. "The Revolution Will Be Visualized." The article reviews the exhibition "Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas," featuring the work of artist Emory Douglas at the Museum of Contemporary Art's (L.A. MOCA) Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, California from October 21, 2007- February 24, 2008. Sarah Valdez.
Revue de recherche en civilisation américaine. 2 | 2010, mis en ligne le 30 juin 2010, consulté le 28 mars 2014. La culture populaire américaine. Review of Black Panther: the Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas.Sabrina Sérac. URL : Link to review online.
Creative Review; May 2007, Vol. 27 Issue 5, p21. " Art and The Man." Review of Black Panther: the Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. Carrie Meyer.
Library Journal; 4/1/2007, Vol. 132 Issue 6, p87. Review of Black Panther: the Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. Edward K. Owusu-Ansah.
New Statesman; 7/23/2007, Vol. 136 Issue 4854, p59. In this article the author discusses three books which constitute, in his opinion, significant examples of outsider art. The books in question are "Mingering Mike: the Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar," by Dori Hadar, Black Panther: the Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas and "Gravity's Rainbow Illustrated," by Zak Smith.
Baltrip-Balagás, Ayana // Print Magazine; Mar/Apr2006, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p84. "The Art of Self-Defense."
Berger, Maurice. For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights. New Haven: Yale UP, 2010. 176.
Bloom, Joshua, and Waldo E. Martin. Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party. Berkeley, CA: U of California, 2013.
Doss, Erika. "Revolutionary Art Is a Tool for Liberation." Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party: A New Look at the Panthers and Their Legacy. Ed. Kathleen Cleaver and George N. Katsiaficas. New York: Routledge, 2001. 183.
Douglas, Emory, Danny Glover, Bobby Seale, Sam Durant, Sonia Sanchez, Kathleen Cleaver, Colette Gaiter, Greg Jung Morozumi, Amiri Baraka, and St Clair Bourne. Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. New York, NY: Rizzoli, 2014.
Foner, Philip S. The Black Panthers Speak. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 1995.
Gaiter, Colette. "The Revolution Will Be Visualized." West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965 - 1977. Ed. Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner. Minneapolis, Minn.: Univ. of Minnesota, 2012. 240-253.
Jones, Charles E. The Black Panther Party (reconsidered). Baltimore: Black Classic, 1998.
Pearson, Hugh. The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1994.
Rhodes, Jane. Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon. New York: New York, 2007.
Roberts, Shaun. "Studio Visit with Emory Douglas." Studio Visit with Emory Douglas. Juxtapoz Magazine, 22 Feb. 2011. Web.
Sudbanthad, Pitchaya. "Emory Douglas: Biography." Journeys. AIGA Journal, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution on YouTube. Uploaded on Mar 26, 2009 The first exhibition by the campaigning US artist Emory Douglas in the UK, pays tribute to an unsung hero of the modern civil rights movement.
- Colette Gaiter, "Visualizing a Revolution: Emory Douglas and The Black Panther Newspaper, AIGA (8 June 2005).
- Doss, Erika (2001). Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party. New York, London: Routledge. p. 179. ISBN 9-780415-927840.
- Jessica Werner Zack,"The Black Panthers advocated armed struggle. Emory Douglas' weapon of choice? The pen," San Francisco Chronicle (28 May 2007).
- "San Francisco Sun Reporter". The Sun-Reporter Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- Austin, Curtis J. (2006). Up against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 414.
- "East Side Arts Alliance". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- Morozumu, Greg (2007). Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. New York: Rizzoli. p. 136.
- "Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas". Rizzoli.
- "The Guardian". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- "5th Auckland Triennial". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- "Zoot Magazine". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- "Emory Douglas: Black Panther". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- EmoryDouglasArt Web Site
- Fine art prints by Emory Douglas
- Extensive 2008 online interview with Emory Douglas @ www.com-raid.com
- Emory Douglas Revolutionary Art. It's About Time - Black Panther Party Legacy and Alumni
- The Life and Times of Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture in the Black Panther Party. 3-part interview (November 2014). The Real News