The Art Angle Podcast: What Is Afrofuturism, and Why Is It So Relevant Today?

Author and artist Ytasha Womack joins Ben Davis to discuss the cultural touchstones from Sun Ra to 'Black Panther.'

Lina Iris Viktor, Eleventh (2018). © 2018, photo courtesy the Artist.

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more, with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.



In the last few years, one art movement has become a household name in a way that few recent art movements can match: Afrofuturism.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art installing an afrofuturist period room to the blockbuster movie Black Panther and its sequel, to an upcoming survey of the movement at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Afrofuturism is being canonized in art and beyond.

It’s an extraordinarily rich tradition, bringing together influences from experimental jazz in Detroit, techno, sci-fi and fantasy, art and technology. With Black History Month here, we decided to dig into Afrofuturist art history with Yatasha Womack. She’s the author of Afrofuturism. The World of Black SciFi and Fantasy Culture. She also happens to be an artist herself, actively working in the tradition now.

So, how can you define the afro futurist aesthetic? What are some of its touchstones? And why has there been such a surge of excitement around it in the recent past? You couldn’t ask for a better guide than Yatasha, and on this week’s episode she joins art critic Ben Davis to dive into the rich history of the movement.


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