NeoHooDoo, a phrase coined by the poet Ishmael Reed in 1970, celebrates the practice of rituals, folklore, and spirituality in the Americas beyond the scope of Christianity and organized religion. The endurance of these centuries-old traditions of magic and healing are the unique focus of this book. Exploring how spirituality influenced artists in the late 20th century and bringing together an intergenerational group of artists from North, Central, and South America, NeoHooDoo reveals the wider implications of ritualized practice in contemporary art.
This book examines the work of thirty-three artistsincluding Jimmie Durham, David Hammons, José Bedia, Rebecca Belmore, and James Lee Byarswho began using ritualistic practices during the 1970s and 1980s as a way of reinterpreting aspects of their cultural heritage. Younger artists such as Tania Bruguera and Michael Joo are shown to have drawn upon the iconography of ritual. The original essays, which range over artistic use of ritual as a form of therapy, catharsis, or political critique, stand alongside contributions from NeoHooDoo’s key sources of inspiration: Robert Farris Thompson, Ishmael Reed, and Quincy Troupe.