In her book ‘Art On My Mind: Visual Politics,’ hook talks about the relationship between the dominant white male and art by African Americans, especially women. She talks about biases, practices and why the relationship is not as it should be. African American artists, especially female ones, have more struggles than white males. Hook talks about the low representation of Black critics on art. She uses the works of the late Jean-Michael Basquiat to analyze effect of photography in the lives of African Americans. She discusses historical photography works from African Americans such as Sylvia Boone and LaVerne Wells-Bowie. Hook refers to Black people as image makers. She explains that blacks have always used cameras as a political instrument. They have used photography to show the world who they really are and to fight misinterpretations and misjudgments. Hook feels strongly about the position of art in black lives and how being identified as black, certain social classes and social construction govern the process of making images
The book is a cultural critic using art as a point of reference. She calls for more African critics to step up. It has plenty of quotable lines mostly about ‘The visual politics.’ She explains that the way people view and interpret things depends on their general worldview. She explains that in most African homes, art is seen as superfluous because they have so many other things to worry about. She feels that Africans have not yet discovered how art can be transforming. The word ‘folk art’ is usually used to describe black art. This name makes it seem like Black art is not valuable. It even reduces the monetary value of the art.
Even though she writes a little about the art of black males, her major focus is on black females. She talks about Lorna Simpson. Simpson uses her art to portray black women in a more positive light. Instead of the stereotyped, mean and nasty women, she portrays them in an artistic, visionary and ethereal light.
This book is a must read especially for people who are trying to understand the perceptions of different people on art. The fact that she writes in a personal and passionate way makes it easy to identify with her work. From the book, it is easy to recognize that there are distinct patterns in the way people of different races and social classes perceive art.