The David C. Driskell Papers: The 1980s

In 1980, the first major retrospective of David C. Driskell's work, David Driskell: A Survey, opened at the University of Maryland Art Gallery on the College Park campus. The exhibition traveled to Middlebury College in Vermont and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In the summer of that year, Driskell was a fellow at Yaddo artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It was during this period that Driskell developed his technique of applying painted cloth strips to his canvasses.

Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art (1800-1950), a collaboration with the Art Museum Association of America and the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington state opened at BAM in 1985 and traveled to ten museums. It was one of several major exhibitions Driskell curated or co-curated in the 1980s. Introspectives: Contemporary Art by Americans and Brazilians of African Descent, co-curated with Henry J. Drewal, opened at the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles in 1989 and traveled to the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City. Introspectives was representative of Driskell's deepening engagement with Brazil, especially the Afro-Brazilian culture of Bahia. He made three trips to Brazil in the 1980s.

In addition to his visits to Brazil, Driskell traveled to Japan and Mexico where he visited artist Elizabeth Catlett at her home in Cuernevaca. In 1989, Driskell returned to his birthplace, Eatonton, Ga., for the first time since his early childhood, a visit documented by filmmaker Maureen McCue in "Hidden Heritage: The Roots of Black American Painting."

Driskell introduced courses in African American art at the University of Maryland, College Park, as well as teaching more general studio courses such as "Methods and Materials," a course which he had been perfecting for decades. During the 1980s, he also began advising his first doctoral student. Tritobia Hayes Benjamin (1944-2014), author of "The Life and Art of Loïs Mailou Jones" (1994), based on her 1991 dissertation, became a faculty member, art gallery director, and administrator at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

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The David C. Driskell Papers: The 1980s