Grief and Grievance
Art and Mourning in America
Grief and Grievance brings together artists working in various mediums who have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. The curators commissioned us to design the book. In our process of poetic research, we encountered many typographic expressions of Black grief: obituaries, newspapers, and Black church bibles, funerary bulletins, newspaper headlines from the civil rights era, and protest signs from the Black Lives Matter movement. The cover’s design is a reference to the now-iconic “I AM A MAN” posters of the 1968 Memphis sanitation worker’s strike. Large, condensed type and an underline rule are motifs seen throughout essays and artists’ work sections. These visual and typographic metaphors are visible throughout the publication, mirroring the repeated artists’ use of abstraction as a strategy for confronting or mediating historical violence or social upheaval moments.