“Narratives” in the Archive

Last week, I finished processing Series 3: Exhibitions, Sub-Series 4: Personal Art Collection into our PastPerfect database. This sub-series pulls together records of exhibitions which focus on David Driskell’s private art collection.

The Personal Art Collection sub-series houses materials relating to the exhibition Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection which was curated by The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland in 1998 and traveled to various institutions including the High Museum of Art and The Newark Museum through 2004. The Narratives exhibition showcased highlights of Prof. Driskell’s extensive art collection. Since Prof. Driskell is a knowledgeable and discerning art collector, Narratives was an extraordinary exhibition that pulled together works by some of the most influential and well-known African American artists from Edward Mitchell Bannister to Elizabeth Catlett to Romare Bearden and others. Though Prof. Driskell did not curate the exhibition, he was involved with planning, informal editing, and consulting on the exhibition and the catalogue. His records on Narratives include correspondence with various employees at The Art Gallery and museum directors from the institutions the exhibition traveled to, ephemera produced by The Art Gallery and traveling institutions, project plans and timelines, and information on the artwork displayed.

Ephemera from "Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection" (1998-1999): Box 4, Folder 6. David C. Driskell Papers: Exhibitions (Personal Art Collection), David C. Driskell Archive.

Ephemera from “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection” (1998-1999): Box 4, Folder 6. David C. Driskell Papers: Exhibitions (Personal Art Collection), David C. Driskell Archive.

Some of the most interesting records in this sub-series are the curatorial files, many of which include articles and research, handwritten notes by the gallery staff and contributors to the exhibition catalogue, and edits to the catalogue entries by Prof. Driskell himself. The most interesting aspect of these files is the development of the exhibition, the various events that surrounded it, and the reactions of the public and press. The sub-series is interesting and informative because it is a great example of how Prof. Driskell has promoted the study and appreciation of African American Art. You can see the online version of the exhibition here and can purchase the exhibition catalogue through the David C. Driskell Center here.

In more news about our processing progress news, Nick continues to work on the Ephemera sub-series, Molly is getting closer to completing the processing for Artists and Individuals, and I am starting to tackle the sub-series documenting the many exhibitions Prof. Driskell curated.  The Archives staff is looking forward to working on the objects that we have left and telling you more about them as we find more interesting and unique things.

From the entire staff at the David C. Driskell Archives, we are wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

This post was written by Stephanie Maxwell, Archivist at the David C. Driskell Center Archives.

One thought on ““Narratives” in the Archive

  1. Pingback: David C. Driskell and “Two Centuries of Black American Art, 1750-1950″ | Driskell Center Archives Blog

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