David C. Driskell and Friends: Creativity, Collaboration & Friendship
highlights the artistic legacy of artist, scholar, collector, and curator David C. Driskell (1931–2020) and his working friendships with fellow artists—many of whom have a significant place in the art canon.
Keith Morrison, Posse, 1994. Oil on canvas. Gift of Margaret Burnwalt. © Keith A. Morrison, 2011. Courtesy of the David C. Driskell Center. Photo credit: Greg Staley.
Georgia-born and North Carolina-raised, David C. Driskell completed the art program at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953. He received an undergraduate degree in art from Howard University, and an MFA from The Catholic University of America, and eventually worked primarily in collage, mixed media, and printmaking. As a curator, he organized over 35 exhibitions of work by fellow Black artists, including Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750–1950 (1976) which traveled around the country and became foundational to African American art history. Equally revered as a teacher, Driskell held positions at Howard and Fisk Universities, and from 1977 until his retirement, was on the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was named Distinguished University Professor of Art in 1995. In 2001, the University established the Driskell Center, which now holds a majority of Driskell’s original artworks and papers.
In 2021, Holton began discussions with Sincavage and Bergman (formerly Executive Director of UCR ARTS) about jointly organizing an exhibition centered on the work of Driskell and his community of artists. The curators were equally inspired by David Driskell’s story and achievements and enthusiastic about organizing the first exhibition on the subject. David C. Driskell and Friends presents the Driskell Center’s holdings in dialogue with works by influential figures such as Hale Woodruff, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Keith Morrison, James Porter, Alma W. Thomas and William T. Williams. The exhibition aims to prompt audiences to discuss the importance of collaboration and the creative process while broadening the appreciation of African-American art and cultivating a generational understanding of relationship-building.
Alma Thomas, Red Abstraction, c.1975. Watercolor on paper. Gift of Nene Humphrey from the Benny Andrews and Nene Humphrey Collection. Courtesy of the David C. Driskell Center. Photo credit: Greg Staley.
David C. Driskell and Friends
was first presented at Wilkes University
in November 2022 and will open at UCR ARTS
in September 2023, before traveling to the Driskell Center
in February 2024, and the University of Pennsylvania in June 2024. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog co-published by and offered free of charge at each partnering venue. It features artwork images, historical photographs, and extensive material on Driskell’s life and works alongside essays by the co-curators.
Sheila Bergman, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Catalina Museum for Art & History. Previously, she was the Executive Director of UCR ARTS, an umbrella organization for the University of California Riverside’s art complex in downtown Riverside, CA. It includes the California Museum of Photography, the Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery, and the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts. Bergman led UCR ARTS through the AAM accreditation process, which was awarded in February 2022. During her tenure, Bergman curated exhibitions, including Social Justice Sewing Academy
(2020), Chris Jordan: Intolerable Beauty
(2019), Contemporary Mexican Photography
(2017), and most recently, David C. Driskell and Friends: A Collaboration of Creativity and Friendship
(2022). Bergman’s research and work focus on arts education, underrepresented artists and histories, communities with limited access to the arts, global environmental issues, curatorial practices, and creative collaborations in the arts.
Curlee Raven Holton is the Executive Director of the David C. Driskell Center for the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland. Holton is a highly regarded and award-winning artist, printmaker, and professor whose work has been exhibited in over thirty-one-person and eighty group shows. Also, he is the Founding Director and Master Printer at Raven Fine Art Editions. In 2015 he received the Anyone Can Fly Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for expanding the appreciation of fine art printmaking. His exhibitions have included Egypt’s 7th International Biennale, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in many collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art; Yale University Art Gallery; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Heather Sincavage is an Associate Professor of Art and the Director of the Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was director of the Reed Fine Art Gallery and University Collections at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and a faculty member in art. Her curatorial work includes exhibitions about Andy Warhol and David C. Driskell. Sincavage’s artistic practice utilizes performance art and centers on building a sustainable performance practice around social justice causes. Her work was included in the 2022 publication An Introduction to the Phenomenology of Performance Art: SELF/S by T.J. Bacon and exhibited in over forty solo and group exhibitions. She has performed at the Queens Museum, New York, and featured in Staged on Screen at the Tate Modern, London. In 2018, she received the Tanne Foundation Award, a peer-nominated honor for scholarship excellence and emergent contributions to performance art.