On view: February 6–May 9, 2021
David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History represents a landmark moment in American art: a major exhibition of artist, curator, and scholar David Driskell’s remarkable career as a painter. Driskell’s legacy in the history of American art is unparalleled: through his curatorial work, his writing, and his teaching, he pushed audiences to consider the American story inclusive of the art of Black people.
David Driskell (1931–2020) has long been recognized for his vibrant and versatile painting and printmaking practice, which combines his sharp observation of American landscapes and his interest in the imagery and aesthetic innovations of the African diaspora. Although his first love was painting, his professional life was largely devoted to service for others: he taught generations of artists and art historians; mentored emerging artists and young faculty members, primarily at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs); researched and wrote extensively about the artistic achievements of Black people throughout American history; and fostered the establishment of African and African American Studies programs in American academia.
The High Museum of Art is honored to organize this exhibition in partnership with the Portland Museum of Art, which brings together approximately sixty works to present highlights of Driskell’s career. The exhibition surveys seven decades of the artist’s painterly practice from the 1950s onward. Driskell’s appreciation for the symbolism of form is manifested in his subjects, including the natural world, remembrances of the Southern Black experience, and the Black Christian church. This exhibition features works from both public and private collections, including rarely seen works from the artist’s own collection.
David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History is available for purchase at the Museum Shop and at museumshop.high.org.