Any Day Now: Toward a Black Aesthetic

By Larry Neal. Introduction by Allie Biswas


A collection of seminal essays on the arts by Larry Neal, a founder of the Black Arts Movement

“The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. Black Art is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America.” 
—Larry Neal, The Drama Review, 1968

Larry Neal, a poet, dramatist, and critic, was a founding figure of the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s in New York. Writing as the arts editor for Liberator magazine, a radical journal published in Harlem, Neal called for Black artists to produce work that was politically oriented, rooted in the Black experience, and written for the Black community. Engaging with fiction, music, drama, and poetry in his texts, he challenged the dominance of the Western art-historical canon and charged Black artists and writers with reshaping artistic traditions according to their own history. As he proclaimed in his essay “The Black Writer’s Role,” written in 1966, “Black writers must listen to the world with their whole selves––their entire bodies. Must make literature move people. Must want to make our people feel, the way our music makes them feel.”

The writer Allie Biswas, who selected the texts Neal wrote from 1964 to 1978 included here, introduces the volume, illuminating the rich and varied context in which he produced his work.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: ekphrasis

Contributors: Larry Neal, Allie Biswas

Designer: Michael Dyer / Remake Design

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona

Publication Date: 2024

Binding: Softcover

Dimensions: 4.25 × 7 in | 10.8 × 17.8 cm

Pages: 184

Reproductions: 2 illustrations

ISBN: 9781644231203

Retail: $15 | $20 CAN | £10.95

Status: Available


Dedicated to publishing rare, out-of-print, and newly commissioned texts as accessible paperback volumes the ekphrasis series is part of David Zwirner Books’s ongoing effort to publish new and surprising pieces of writing on visual culture.

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Larry Neal

Cultural critic and playwright Larry Neal (1937–1981) was a leading member of the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. He was born in Atlanta and grew up in Philadelphia, earning a BA in English and history from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He also studied folklore as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he served as the arts editor for Liberator, where he published many of his essays about art. His collections of poetry, Black Boogaloo: Notes on a Black Literature (1969) and Hoodoo Hollerin Bebop Ghosts (1971), show the influence of vernacular speech and folklore.

Allie Biswas

Allie Biswas is a writer and editor based in London. In 2021, she coedited The Soul of a Nation Reader: Writings by and about Black American Artists, 1960–1980, a compendium of rarely seen historical texts that address the role of art during the civil rights movement. She has published interviews with artists including Theaster Gates, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Meleko Mokgosi, Zanele Muholi, Adam Pendleton, and Wolfgang Tillmans. Her essays have appeared in books on Serge Alain Nitegeka, Reginald Sylvester II and Woody De Othello, amongst other artists. Most recently, she has contributed texts to Portia Zvavahera (David Zwirner Books, 2023), Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Machine, Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art, and Frank Bowling: Sculpture. She is currently editing a monograph about the artist Hew Locke.