Opening: Thursday, September 9 at 6pm
The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park, is proud to present its fall 2021 exhibition, American Landscapes; the exhibition is on view at the Driskell Center from September 9 through November 19, 2021. The exhibition is curated by Dorit Yaron, Deputy Director, assisted by Professor Curlee R. Holton, Director, both of the David C. Driskell Center, and is the first major exhibition in the Center’s physical space since the passing of Professor David C. Driskell in April 2020. The exhibition is also available virtually, on the Center website.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: American Landscapes continues the approach taken by the David C. Driskell Center with previous exhibitions such as Portraits of Who We Are (2018) and Posing Beauty in African American Culture (2019) of presenting thematic exhibitions that explore important topics, concepts, or ideas. Moreover, this exhibition is the first major exhibition at the Driskell Center to juxtapose African American artists with their contemporaries. It presents a comprehensive narrative of the contribution of African American artists to American art canon.
Professor Curlee R. Holton, Director of the Driskell Center, remarked:
“The traditions of landscape painting embody the visions of Manifest Destiny, spiritual reverence, and the heroism embedded in the beauty and omnipotent power of our environment. Man has long been in awe of the presence of this natural expression of the divine. The artist, both past and present have sought to interpret and re-present this wonderment in hopes of expressing how the world presents itself to us and how we present ourselves to it.”
The works in this exhibition were selected based on the contribution of the artists to the field of landscape art and are dated from 1850 to 2020. Of the 77 works, over half are selected from the Driskell Center collection, with others borrowed from outside collections and artist studios. Artists featured in this exhibition including Ansel Adams, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Kevin Cole, Robert Seldon Duncanson, Asher Durand, Sam Gilliam, George Inness, Loïs Mailou Jones, Norman Lewis, Sally Mann, Richard Mayhew, Julie Mehretu, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Alma Thomas, Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, KayWalkingStick, Thomas Worthington Whittredge, and Grant Wood, among others. Additionally, the exhibition will include a selection of about 30 landscape works by David C. Driskell, who was known for his love and depiction of pine trees, gardens, and landscapes.
American Landscapes is accompanied by a catalogue, supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, and includes essays from Horace D. Ballard, Curator of American Art at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Mass., and Assistant Professor Maggie Cao, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A symposium, American Landscapes: Nature, Beauty, and History, will be held in conjunction with the exhibition and will feature presentations by the essayists, artists, and scholars, who will address topics such as the Hudson River School, American landscapes, and surveys of landscape and African American artists. The symposium will be held in hybrid format, with opportunities to attend and participate in-person and online. American Landscapes: Nature, Beauty, and History is presented in collaboration with The Phillips Collection.
Exploring the unique power of nineteenth century Black landscape art, in her essay for the American Landscapes catalogue, “Racial Geographies and Nineteenth-Century Landscape,” Professor Cao links Black landscape art to “the evolving mobility of artists and consumers – their movement through racially codified spaces using means linked to privilege,” and that “For African American landscapists who succeeded in spite of [their] circumstances, the possibilities and limits of mobility are present, even if concealed, in their work.”
The opening event, which will be virtual, is scheduled for September 9, 2021, at 6PM; additional information to follow, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions provided by the county and the University of Maryland. In addition to the opening reception, the Driskell Center will host three in-person guided tours led by the Center’s Director, Curlee R. Holton. Each tour will be limited to 40 people. Please check the Center website and emails for additional information including dates and registration.
The David C. Driskell Center Gallery is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and selected Saturdays [Sep. 25th, Oct. 16th, and Nov. 13th] 11AM-4PM, and Wednesdays 11AM-6PM.
The David C. Driskell Center is located at 1214 Cole Student Activities Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.