David C. Driskell and Friends: Creativity, Collaboration, and Friendship

June 15 – September 15, 2024

David C. Driskell and Friends: Creativity, Collaboration, and Friendship highlights the artistic legacy of David C. Driskell and the importance of his relationships with fellow artists, many of whom hold a significant place in the art canon. In 1976, Driskell curated the groundbreaking traveling exhibition Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750–1950, which has been a foundation for the field of African American art history. Many of the artists that were featured are included in this exhibition.

The exhibition explores the work of, and Driskell’s relationships with, such figures as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Keith Morrison, James Porter, Hale Woodruff, and more. Original works of art created by Driskell are also featured, as well as ephemera from the Driskell Papers that exemplify the artists’ wide range of friendships.

David C. Driskell (1931-2020) was a leading American artist, scholar and curator who organized more than 35 exhibitions of work by fellow Black artists and was central to establishing African-American art as a field of study. He worked primarily in collage, mixed media, and printmaking. He retired from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1998 as Distinguished University Professor of Art and also taught for more than a decade at Fisk University, where he curated numerous shows highlighting Black artists. He received a National Humanities Medal in 2000. In 2001, the University of Maryland established the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and the Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, which now holds a majority of Driskell’s original artworks and papers.

This traveling exhibition will debut at the Sordoni Art Gallery of Wilkes University and conclude at the Arthur Ross Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania, with other venues including the University of California-Riverside and the University of Maryland. All works featured in the exhibition are from the Driskell Center. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring artwork, photographs, essays, and extensive material on Driskell’s life and works. David C. Driskell and Friends: Creativity, Collaboration, and Friendship is organized by The Driskell Center, University of Maryland. This exhibition and related programming are supported by the Teiger Foundation.