David C. Driskell Center

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Date: November 1, 2017
Contact: Ms. Dorit Yaron
Title: Deputy Director
Phone: 301.405.6835


COLLEGE PARK, MD. — 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 is proud to announce its spring exhibition, Portraits of Who We Are. The exhibition focuses on self-portraits by African American artists   and also includes portraits of African American artists created by their colleagues. The exhibition will be on display at the Driskell Center from Thursday, February 1st, 2018 through Friday, May 18th, 2018, with an opening reception on Thursday, February 1st, from 5-7PM. 


There have been relatively few exhibitions featuring self-portraits by African American artists; Portraits of Who We Are has been developed to address the ways in which African American artists portray themselves, their communities, and their culture at large.  Self-portraits have become a fashionable staple of artistic practice and have a particular command on our attention as issues such as identity, modernity, and gender are considered within their cultural and historical contexts.

The Last Ten Years: In Focus includes works by:

Anthony Barboza
Gustave Blache III
Michael Booker
Elizabeth Catlett
Willie Cole
Alfred Conteh
Beauford Delaney
Joseph Delaney
Aaron Douglas
David C. Driskell
Melvin Edwards
Frederick C. Flemister
Meta Warrick Fuller
Reginald Gammon
Patrick Earl Hammie
Michael D. Harris

James Amos Porter
Gale Fulton Ross
Betye Saar
Sheldon Scott
Frank Stewart
Renée Stout
Henry Ossawa Tanner
Mickalene Thomas
Dox Thrash
Trent Tomengo
Carrie Mae Weems
Kelly Williams
Deborah Willis
Hank Willis Thomas
John Wilson

Palmer Hayden
Barkley Hendricks
Felrath Hines
Curlee R. Holton
Earl J. Hooks
Margo Humphrey
Malvin Gray Johnson
William H. Johnson
Loïs Mailou Jones
Hughie Lee-Smith
Juan Logan
Richard Mayhew
Keith Morrison
Archibald J. Motley, Jr.
Arcmanoro Niles
P.H. Polk



The exhibition includes more than 50 works that span from 1915 to 2017 and is curated by Professor Curlee R. Holton, assisted by Dorit Yaron, the Center’s Deputy Director, with some advising by Dr. Michael D. Harris, Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of African American Studies at Emory University, GA.

“Portraiture has had a long and distinguished role in the canon of art worldwide. Self-portraiture in particular offers the audience unique visual masterpieces and, just as importantly, serves as a document of the artist’s creative prowess,” says Professor Curlee R. Holton, the Driskell Center’s Executive Director. He continues, “The artist’s self-portrait is much more than a painting: it is a symbol of the personal which can also possess artistic, historical, cultural, and political significance.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Driskell Center publishes a catalogue with essays by Professor David C. Driskell, artist and Distinguished University of Maryland Professor Emeritus of Art; David Brigham, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Cheryl Finley, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Director of Visual Studies, Cornell University; Professor Curlee R. Holton, Executive Director, David C. Driskell Center; Keren Moscovitch, Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts; and Deborah Willis, Ph.D., University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. All works in the exhibition are reproduced in the catalogue, which will be available for purchase at the Driskell Center and through its website after February 1st, 2017.


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, celebrates the legacy of David C. Driskell --Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector, and Curator-- by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. Established in 2001, the Center provides an intellectual home for artists, museum professionals, art administrators, and scholars of color, broadening the field of African diasporic studies. The Driskell Center is committed to collecting, documenting, and presenting African American art as well as replenishing and expanding the field. For further information about the David C. Driskell Center, please call 301.314.2615 or visit www.driskellcenter.umd.edu.

The Driskell Center Gallery’s hours are Monday through Friday from 11AM to 4PM with extended hours on Wednesday until 6PM. The Driskell Center Gallery will additionally be open on the following Saturdays: February 17th, March 3rd, and April 28th from 11AM to 4PM.  The gallery will be closed from March 19th through 23rd for Spring Break. The Driskell Center observes all University of Maryland closings due to inclement weather and holidays. The David C. Driskell Center office is open daily during the weekdays from 9AM through 5PM.