Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection

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The development and transformation of African American artistic and racial identities are chronicled in this rich and diverse exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century African American art and archival material. This exhibition is drawn from the personal collection of David C. Driskell, renowned artist, historian, and scholar, and Distinguished University Professor of Art at the University of Maryland. Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection explores more than 100 years of African American art and features 100 paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures by more than 60 African American artists.

Narratives of African American Art and Identity is organized in five thematic sections: “Strategic Subversions: Cultural Emancipation, Assimilation, and African American Identity;” “Emergence: The New Negro Movement and Definitions of Race;” “The Black Academy: Teachers, Mentors, and Institutional Patronage;” “Radical Politics, Protest, and Art;” and “Diaspora Identities/Global Arts.” The exhibition forms a chronological narrative of over a century of African American art, and focuses on the evolution of the depiction of racial identity in African American art as well as the various strategies that African American artists have used in the development of aesthetic expression. Representing 19th-century African American artists are such notables as Edward Mitchell Bannister, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Robert S. Duncanson. Among early 20th-century artists are important figures from the Harlem Renaissance era, including Aaron Douglas, James VanDerZee, William H. Johnson, Meta Warrick Fuller, and Hale Woodruff.


This exhibition is organized and circulated by The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

Union Bank of California has provided support for the exhibition in San Francisco.

Currently on view