The Living Legacy National Speaking Tour
Thank, you all for coming I'm Terrence. Washington, I'm, here. At the National Gallery in the academic, programs, department. Super. Excited, to say the least that, we're hosting this program with. David, driscoll speaking, with curly Holton as, part of their living legacy national. Speaking tour. Curly's. Gonna do a. Much more substantial introduction. Of David right after this but. Just, as a much. Less experienced, art historian I. Want, to say how. Amazing. It is to be able to spend time with David, who I. Mean. Thinking. About the the sort of stars that I ate that I sort, of have come up thinking about in. Art history faith, Ringgold. William. C Williams, Jacob. Lawrence, David. As an artist. Allah. You know obviously. Keeps their company and then. As an art historian has, been part of putting them sort. Into the. Constellation, I get, to look out every day I'm just pretty great. I'll introduce curly, very quickly and then he'll come up and we'll get started. Curly, Holton is a highly. Regarded professor, painter, and master. Print maker and he. Has exhibited his work all, over the place all over the world, his, paintings, drawings and prints are held by major museums, and collections, in the US and abroad, he. Earned his, master's. In fine arts from Kent State with. A concentration, in printmaking and his. Bachelor's from the Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts and drawing. And painting he. Served for a long time as the David. N and Linda Roth professor, of art at Lafayette, College in East in Easton, Pennsylvania. Where. He taught printmaking, and african-american, art history, there. He, founded, in 1996. The experimental. Printmaking, Institute. Were. The vision to provide artists. With the time/space, materials. And professional. Support to create new work and. In. 2014 he, was appointed executive. Director, of the, David seed Rescue Center for, study of the visual arts and culture of African, Americans, and African, Diaspora at.
The University, of Maryland College Park, please, welcome karlie Holton. Well. Thank you for being here and sharing this moment with David. Myself, I'll. Tell you a little bit about the Driskill center you can see the slide up here many of you familiar with the Driskill Center and our. Programs, and it Driskell center is unique, in many ways one, way that is, unique is one of the only. Research. And study centers, in the country named, after an African American artists. And. We. Are proud, of that and trial the legacy, that David, has passed on to us and again. Not only as a Davis legacy, but it's a legacy of replenishing and. Expanding. A feel an appreciation, of African American art and some. Of you attended the exhibition had, opened on Thursday, 15, collectors I think, you've got a sense, of our mission, and how, it manifests itself in the real world. So. This, speaking. Tour I'm, talking to you about, was. Of course established, at the Driscoll center with a great deal of support, from. Larry and Brenda, Thompson. And. That. Support. Came. About one. Evening. We're, having dinner in Washington, DC with, dr.. Everett and her husband, Ralph and. We, were talking about Howard, University. David. Working, and being mentored, by Louis Maynard Jones and, how how, Woodruff but James wells and James, Porter and he, shared with us a lot of stories, that you, know no one knew about, especially. Stories that aren't written down in the history books which, is intriguing to me and. At. The close of that conversation and my role was to provoke David, a little bit and bring that information for, it as the. Thompsons, mentioned, to me as we were about to leave the restaurant, that. If we decided, to do a, tour. Of davis, conversations. And to, do talks about, they would underwrite it, so. We propose that we do a dozen talks around the country, I think, we've done five so far and we have a scheduled. Talk at Houston Museum of Art New. Orleans. University. Of Delft University of Aruba Delaware, Art Museum and a number of others. But. Let me tell you a little bit about David, before I bring him up when. You talk about personal, stories I met. David in 2003. I was introduced to him by Riley, temple, I don't know if Riley's in the audience, but. I did invite him I was, a professor, in Lafayette College and Riley said to me who was on the Board of Trustees why. Don't you bring a David Driscoll, to. Lafayette so I invited David and he agreed to come, so. We began to work in 2003. On a series, of prints and we produce, over 50 editions, since 2003. But. What we did also was, promote his work internationally. Because, I had studied in Latin, America, and, and it. Was important, I had shown in Japan had a gallery that represented, my work in Japan so I thought it would be great to show David's work, so. We arranged for an exhibition of David's work and Oaxaca. Mexico, now. I refer, to David as the super-duper. Maestro. So. Let me tell you how you got that name. We're. In Oaxaca Mexico being. Hosted, by Rolando. Rojas a very prominent, artists. Who also owned the gallery, and. Restaurant. And so he hosted the exhibition, now. When, this exhibition, opens. The way it formally happens is there's a big, red ribbon in interest. Of the gallery, we. All stand outside, the. Audience. Of the crowd gathers. Dignitaries. Speak, the. Mayor was there well Hakka and others and they speak and pay, homage to the arts and pay homage to the maestro, well. The maestro, which is a, sort. Of Spanish, timur of. Identifying. A an important, teacher, an. Artists of distinction. And great regards. So you're walking down the street and they will greet you and bound say good, morning maestro, so. David was a maestro, we all that, well. During this event I was, standing outside and, I turn around looking, for David, and David was missing.
David. Has slipped under, the red ribbon had gone into the gallery space and, they, just had a tenant in the gallery space and later as David talking to everyone I think. He was drinking a little mask ale and, juice. Actually he'll tell you doesn't drink but I think yeah or tequila I'm not sure which and. I. Realized, he was inside and this is not protocol. So I ran inside and got David and brought him out you said you can't do that David this has done a certain way you have to wait until, they cut the ribbon with you, so. They finally cut the ribbon and David goes in and, they're greeting. Him and as you can see here, they're, interviewing, him this is his first. One-person. International. Show which. Was surprising to, me now he's been in a number of group. Exhibitions, internationally, but this was the first international, show so, our hosts who I mentioned on the restaurant, also. Had a private chef assigned, to David so each morning, David would get up the private chef would cook whatever David asked for lunch, and dinner and David. Was asking for all kinds of exotic things you know they will take advantage of a situation of given opportunity, so. He this chef was just cooking up a storm just I think it was the first time David at his own private chef but it was we. Were having a great time and, so after that those artists, would not only greet David, as maestro. But. They called him the super-duper, maestro. So. That's where that name came from in that term, so. David. Has. Done a lot outside of, the. U.s. also. This. Is a shot of David and Delphi, Greece. And. I'll tell you so about Greece and our visit to Greece which is quite a story and also San, Jose Costa Rica, if we have time later I'll tell, you those stories. But. Of course besides, the comp. You know the accomplishments. Internationally. Was Davis continued, achievement, nationally, of. Course we all know this his. Reputation as, a. Scholar. As. An artist. In. A great story about how he got to Howard, I think he'll tell you that story, but. Just a little bit he arrived at Howard, because. He was going to college, didn't. Know you have to apply to be entered. Into college, and they, would just show up on campus and walk into anybody's classroom. So. They had to stop him you know and then he applied but, he'll, tell you that story. Well. Of course you can see his accomplishments. Its recognition, for, us two centuries, black. American art exhibition, that was groundbreaking. And. Of course is teaching history and teaching, accomplishments. And being honored by President, Clinton you'll see a shot, of that little later so. We are well aware of David's, unique. Contributions. And. Now, we have a shot of David. Working. On one piece this is a friend he was working, on but. David agreed to do the living legacy tour, not a primary, reason for the tour I told, you the reaction of the Thompsons was. To tell that story the. Story that's not necessarily. In the history books although people. Talk about history and achievements, but. To personalize. It and. It was important, to the Driscoll center and we, considered derrive its story to be our greatest asset, we have a great library. Great, archives, of David's paper is a great art collection, but, for us, the greatest asset, is David's. Story and how. David lived his life as generosity as a teacher as, humanity, and we, try to create programming, that reflects, that so, David is for us a national. Trade treasure so. Would any other delay, I like to bring up the SuperDuper maestro. He. Could grow a mustache, but he couldn't grow a beard at this time this was just his beginning, as a young student and was.
Distinguished. Even. As a young student his teachers, would fight over him where he's going to be an artist, where there's going to be an art historian, so. I would like this conversation, to be about, his being, a student and how he got to Howard, and then. We could talk about achievements. Later on can you tell the story getting the Howard well. I assumed. If. I'm talking a little loud you'll, excuse, me I. Had. A problem can't, hear out of this ear for the time being. And. I'll make it very short because many. Of you heard this story before but I. Attended. A little forum. Segregated. High, School in Western, North Carolina in Appalachia and we. Had very fine, teachers because, at. That time in. The segregated. Certain. Parts of the segregated south. The. State, that. You lived in would. Pay its, black. Teachers, to go out of the state to any graduate school that they wanted to attend. To. Keep them from having to go to the University, of North Carolina or any. Of the white institutions. So our teachers, were, very well prepared. We. Won, fourth grade teacher for example had. A doctorate. Of Education, from University, of Michigan, and, so. We were exposed to the very best even, within that system, of segregation but, that notion. To us was that if. You. Don't like. The. Forming, and whatever, was going on there. The. Way out of this and this was also the philosophy of my father, the. Way out of this is through education and, so. Having that, kind of experience our. Teachers, would say you, must go to college, so out of our little class of 24 people 18. Of us would off to college and. I. Guess, I was the most. Enterprising. One in that I got on the train in Kings Mountain North Carolina and, came to, Washington. Luckily, I had two sisters living here and. Showed. Up and. My. Brother-in-law said oh you came, to get a job and I said no no I came to go to college and I'm, going, to Howard University and the. Next day I just walked, up on the campus and and. Tried. To enroll. Had. My report card with me and, they. Said no you school. Has been in session for three weeks and. You don't just come to college you have to make an application I said well I'm here give me one so. That. Ensued, and finally, they said no no you can't just do this and they said if you go. Home and don't come back until, January. We're on the quarter system then. We'll. Make sure that, you're properly in rows enrolled. I. Picked. Them no attention I would only set it in crisis, and I. Always, say. It. Was not the students in Greenburgh bar, who the, first set in as I was and, at. Howard University well. Anyway, when, I finally got enrolled and I won't, make this any longer, I, enrolled. In history because. I had the notion that I was going to become a history teacher and. The. Second year I decided, that I would take an art course because. I always had this great interest in art went. Over to third guild hall where the art department, is located at that time and. Enrolled. And professor. James L Wells drawing, class and I. Was drawing Monday, and gentleman came in and looked over my shoulders, and. With. An indication that I had some talent and, he, said what is your name I don't don't. Know you or, you're not majoring I said no I'm a history major, it. Was James a Porter and he. Said you, don't belong in history, you belong here so. I went and changed my major and, that's how I got. Howard University, that was the beginning of the story with the beginning yeah. Can, you talk a little bit about, studying. With individuals, like, order. Louis. Melo Jones. James. Wells know the influence they had on you as a young artist well. We, saw them as major, artists, which they were. Washington. At that time was still a segregated City, so you wouldn't see much of that working in the public domain. Louis. Jones and, James, wells were, in the collection at the Phillips Collection and, he was called the Phillips Memorial, gallery at that time. But. You couldn't see any of their work in other institutions, and often. Mentioned this. To. The credit of, especially.
This Institution, National Gallery of Art at, that time there were only three places in, the. Nation's capitol, that. African, Americans were welcome to come in eat. One, was the Severn station at Severn. Restaurant. A Union Station, the. Methodist, building across the street from the house of the. Legislature. And. The, National Gallery marked, so. We would, come here, on Sunday. Afternoons, to. Eat. And, to have to hear the lectures and what-have-you, our teachers, encouraged. Us to do that and. Professor. Wells taught, drawing and printmaking and. He. Was a very. Well-liked. Teacher because. He. Wouldn't get on you if you missed classes, that. Much Louis Jones you had to be there every day and. Louis. Would line us up all. The works that we did. Daily. And. She. Would give prizes, we. Didn't get any money or anything like that but. She'd give out a title. First place second. Place honorable mention so. We learned the process that, way but it also, caused. Not. The best feelings among the students. So. I will never win the prize I won the prize most of the time. So. That was a you, know and when I won the national prize which. Included. Georgetown. George. Washington. Catholic, University, University of Maryland, Howard, at. That time we'll still minor Teachers, College, now. District, of Columbia, I, came. In the next day to find my, paintings thrown under the. Seat. With a blue. Tag of first prize well, I won the first surprise and, I always say that painting, got me into Skowhegan, yeah can, you talk about Scott Hagen a little bit I know you. Were being recommended, to Skowhegan, and you were one of the. First. Undergraduate. Undergraduate. To get into Skowhegan, can, you tell about that well Howard University, had a scholarship to the Skowhegan, school of painting and sculpture from. Its inception in, 1946. And. Students. From all over they 65. Students, were selected. From. The time it was found it still. 65, students, at that time I understand, they would you. Could almost pick. The students out on hand, and they. Would have maybe a hundred applicants, and. Some, were designated by, the school that they attended, today. They get close to 3,000. Applications for. Those same 65, spaces, so, even in the beginning it was, highly. Regarded, international. Students. And what have you and so that. I was chosen in my junior, year to go to this. Prestigious school was really open. Unheard, of and there I. Made. The acquaintance, of artists, some of whom are still alive that I. Still. Have association, with Lois dot and people like that Alex. Katz, I. Was. In the class with, a. Gentleman. By the name of Robert Clark he changed his name to Robert, Indiana. So. There. Were people of, Statue, even, then who, were there so. Skowhegan. Then. The, only major, summer, school, in the United States that. Has that kind of art. School that has that kind of prestige so it's kind of formative for you yes, yeah, we're now I'm not just in the, small, environment, of Howard University this. Was a larger, national. National. Vein why you're in Maine now because, of that well yes you know I, came back and. That. Fall of. 1953. And, I, told my wife Selma I. Said. All. Famous, artists go to Maine in the summer. They. Have homes they have studios etc, etc and, one. Day we have to have a home studio. Well, we didn't, we were living with her mother we didn't have a home. But. Its blessings. Would come our way I think it was eight or nine years later I was teaching. At Talladega, college but I was also in graduate school at, Catholic, University and. I. Would read. The. Christian. Science Monitor the, newspaper, that, was, one of the few mainstream. Newspapers. At that time that. Reported. On the work of African American artists there was a page called a home forum, page and a, woman wrote the art criticism by the name of Dorothy, habló.
Wonderful. Writer and she. Would include Tana. Duncanson. Bannister. Jacob. Lawrence romare. Bearden, artist. That we didn't get in any. Other form of. The. Media and so. I read it religiously for. That reason, but I. Also. Was. Having such a difficult time with my, French. Examination. My I had. To pass this 12-page. French. Exam at Catholic you I don't know if they still do it for, the MFA, not for the masters but for the MFA, because there's a terminal degree so, we had to take the same. Exam. That the PhD, students took so, I read, Mary Baker Eddy Sherman's. Up here in English. At. The top of the home forum page and in French down below and. That's how I passed my French exam you still speak bad French don't you yeah. Well. Let's put Rodney says. Is. Your buddy. Jen. They say pop but. Anyway. Can. You talk a little bit more about. Becoming. A teacher moving, from. Howard. To fist University, where you became chairman, of our, department, but there's also a chairman, in our department, at Fisk, well. Thrives of that I had taught at Talladega college that's right in Alabama and even, though I was the one person, Department. You know I had to teach everything and when. They asked me ahead. Of time when I was applying right. Out of college now. No. Masters anything, like that can you teach, painting. Yes can you teach. Graphic. Arts yes, can. You teach ceramics, yes I hadn't had a ceramic, course I. Wasn't, gonna pass up the chance to get that job sure paid. $300. A month say yes until you can afford to say no yes, indeed so I. Studied. Kept. Ahead of the students, by. Studying, and we would go out we got to the point where, we. Were good enough to go out in the countryside dig, the clay process, it I'd ordered the glazes we'd make up our own glazes. And, some. Of one of our students. Gentleman. By the name of Hans Bala from. Pakistan, he, was. An economics, major but he took as many art courses, as he could with us and he, had this great interest in ceramics, and graphics, and he, went directly from.
This. Program mentality there was no major to. The MFA program in, Cranbrook so. We. Had concentration. In, areas. Of study that really. Good. But, you were also trained, very well you trained a very classical, way you told, me that used to have, to grind your own pigments. - no yeah paint so you understood, egg tempera you understood how to press. Coal all of those things I I taught, a course called methods, and materials of, paint, and I. Had had that course, with the. Famous paint. Manufacturer. Leonard beaucoup at, Skowhegan. In 1953. So, I came back, and. Instituted. Some of that in the program at Talladega, but. When I came to Howard in, 1962. Professor. Porter allowed me to introduce that as a course, of study and a number. Of the artists. Washington. Artists, like Lou Stovall. Silly. Snowden, and many. Others they took that course and. We would grind the pigments, just like they did in the old days, we. Would do. Fresco, painting, and we, may have been one of the few schools at. That time doing frescoes, egg, tempera so. I took them through all of that and this particular. View. Of students, at Fisk. In that class. So. You. Were sharing, this knowledge with these students, just background this, history, this. Understanding. About the Arts in a row that african-american. Artists weren't present so you were carrying a responsibility. So, I know you were down in Talladega, as you mentioned earlier can. You tell me how the environment. How the community, dealt with your presence, didn't you tell me they were marches, on the campus. Oh yes, well that was in the 1950s. George, Wallace was governor, and. The. Klan was very active in pretty. Much all of the counties, around, and. We had marches, on the campus, they come through we. Were I recall. One. Night having the Christmas program in, DeForest, Chapel, nineteenth-century kind, of neo Romanesque, building beautiful. Building. There I was later, commissioned. To do, 65. Stained-glass windows, for that Chapel. And. We. Had two Hail Woodruff murals there so the campus is almost like an art cameras, in many ways but, anyway we were in Chapel one night singing silent, night holy night and all that and we. Saw this blaze out front and we said, oh they they, lift the Christmas tree early. Well the Klan had cumin planted across in. Front of the chapel and. Had. Only one security guard and no telling where he was so. But, those were the, days when, those. Kinds of things happened yeah and wasn't there was it when you were at ella de Graaff it's where you, can only take. African-american. Students to the museum one day a week was it that day, well, that was true pretty much of all of the museums in the south at that time. Hill. Woodruff, had broken the mold in Atlanta. In, the, 1940s. But in the 1950s, when I went to he could take his students, and Spellman, who over. To the High Museum but, when I went to. Talladega. In. 1955. There. Was still only one day in the week when black. People could go to the Museum in Birmingham, that was, a Tuesday that was called Negro day, and. I have photographs, of my having taken. My. Students, over there on. Negro. Day, in. My class was a young. Man who later became a very famous minister, whose my ministry people's church Tony Stanley, and. Richard English who became a Dean at Harvard. Archie. No. Dean, at Howard and. A. Provost Archie Epps who became a Dean at Harvard they were in that class I, have pictures of them standing, there in front of the museum well. There that was a common practice. All, over the south one. Day a week and, the. Only White's you saw were. Either. Working. In offices, all, the, security, guards because there were no black security guards in those days there was Clark Clark previously. At Talladega, yes you came yeah, and talked for a while well Clark. Had kind, of shaken up things. By. Challenging. The University, of Alabama. When. They wanted, they had got. Barred works from the Metropolitan. And other, museums. This, is our thing around 1946. Or 47. And maybe. In 48, but. The. People, in those museums up north assumed, that it, was open to everybody and. Of, course. They. Couldn't go at any time. And. So. Mr. Clark wrote to, the. Director, at the Cleveland Museum at, that time I think it was Sherman, Lee Sherman. Lee yes and to the director at the Metropolitan, Museum and, they all canceled, their. Trips there and had, the collections, withdrawn, so. It stirred up that kind of. Notion. Of, inequality. And what-have-you, but it, also woke. Up people, about how. Unfortunate. It, was and, these things will happen so the arts were a battleground, oh it was a battleground yeah, in many ways ya. Know, at fists, you have as we see in the image here you see Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron. Douglas now. When you got to fist with it Aaron Douglas that was that Fisk when you first arrived Aaron Douglas had, literally founded, the I department, at Fisk in. 1939. He. Was invited, there in 1931, to do the murals in, the, cravette. Library, but. He didn't come to teach until around 1939. And, he organized the annual, show wasn't it yes. He would well it, was different from the show in Atlanta, the annual, show.
Of Negro artists, was in Atlanta, and that was organized, in 1942. By Hale Woodruff, but. Douglass had at, the. Van Vechten Carl Van Vechten gallery, he. Had invited. Prestigious. Artists, from time to time to. Come. Directors. From metropolitan, museum and places like that and. At Fiske of course it, was a not. A very well-known. Notion. But, Georgia. O'Keeffe had given a hundred, and one works. European. And modern, American, masters, to Fisk University in 1949. In, memory. Of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, and so. Fiske really, I mean. Works like blue period Picasso, seasons, Renoir, etc, etc there, were very few museums. Period. In the south with that kind of representation, now, Carl Van Vechten my understanding, is that he introduced. Stiglitz. And Keefe to Fisk University as a possibility, and. The. Stig, list gave out. What. About six collections, that six different five five. Major institutions. Nationally. Fisk. Was in that company, this was an economy, I think national gallery they gave 1600, photographs. From his collection, that were later shown as the first major. One-person. Show of photography, in the country was held here but. Now with this Georgia but, the, collection, given the fist university was exceptional. And there was writings, about why Georgia. Gave it to fists and I think it was Stiglitz who said you know Negroes. Need to have exposure to this art as well we, have very important, now. I know you were in communication with Georgia, O'Keeffe I think there's a letter behind us that shows that can. You give us some background on, how that came about your, relationship, with Georgia O'Keeffe well. When I left Howard University, in. 1966. To. Go to Fisk to be chairman, I department. Director the gallery I, found. Things pretty much in disarray they, weren't very well. Kept. You. Know they. Actually. When. Mrs. O'Keefe was there in 1949. She had, marked, on the, linoleum, floor, in the van vecten gallery, where she wanted every piece to go with a red mark, and. When. I arrived, there that red mark was still there that. You. Know had been waxed, over. Well. There'd. Been no conservation. The works, needed. Conserving. And. Well. They were just in in pretty bad condition so, a. 1966. I got busy, writing. To different people, the, will descend gallery in New York saying if we can. Have. A. Benefit. Which. You support, us to raise money to restore, the works etc and. They, said sure sure sure so I got. In touch with miss Doris Bree who. Was Miss Keefe's assistant. And said. The. Wildenstein gallery will sponsor, this for us we'd. Like to have X number the works in New York we had a given time and. Miss. Bree said well you have to go back and read the, deed. Of gift the works can't be loaned and. Obviously. They weren't, supposed to be sold anything like that, so. I made, a plea, saying. That, these, works are in bad condition. We. Need to do something about it. So. I, wrote. To mrs.. O'Keefe and, told. Her my plan and. Because. This letter came back you know it was like the, works don't improve with travel, and so forth so I so. The answer was no no totally, dumb tote Georgia, O'Keeffe no no she told me no okay. And I. Said well we've got to do something so. Two. Years later I. Get. A letter from, Miss. Bree a call from his breeze saying miss. O'Keefe is planning. To have a major. Retrospective, at, the Whitney and. She. Would like to borrow radiator, building. And. I. Asked. Him to put it in writing and so forth like she had done for me and. I responded by saying my dear Miss O'Keeffe I must remind you of the stringency of your gift, regrettably. The works can't travel. Well. That. Of. Course. Caused. Her. To say. Have. Him come to see me and, that's that was my plan yes that was your plan yeah, so, she, always stayed at the Stanhope hotel, across the street from the Metropolitan, Museum and. In. One, room. Nobody stayed in that room but Miss O'Keeffe so. I went up in 1968. And. To. See her did, she end this Bree and, she. Was wearing the typical, black, dress white collar ugly medallion. And that said okay, and. I. You. Know I said oh this is a beautiful medallion, and, so. Forth she said oh you'd like it she said sandy, made it for me luckily. I knew who sandy, was, Alexander. Calder, it. Said okay so I think she was impressed with all the little trivia that I thought you knew yeah. Someday. Maybe, I'll give it to you someday and Miss. Breeze stood up six feet four inches and, said Miss, Oki were giving away nothing, today. And. I thought well I've got to work out some way another to. Get something, because I came here to go. Back I. Said, to her then I. Said. Mrs. O'Keefe you, were ahead of your time in, so.
Many Ways activists. Women's, rights etc etc I, said. And you gave those works to a black school in the South in 1949. I, said. This, was amazing, and. I. Said. But you didn't endow them what did you expect gonna happen to them and. She. Looked at me. And. She, said, you. Got guts. She's. But I like you, she. Said what do you want from me and, I had my speech together I said. I need $50,000. Immediately, too, and. I'll go to the National Endowment for the Arts I, said dr.. John Spencer, has already told me. That. He, would. Go to his discretionary. Funds and match. Whatever I can get from you and. She. Turned to miss Murray and said, Doris. I want. To check for. Mr. Fiske tomorrow. She. Forgot, my name but, it. Didn't matter. And. The check came special, delivery about, three days later hmm. And of course I got in touch with John, and he, followed. Through and we got the works in sir for the very first time it's. Amazing. Phil Roth Hines was. Her, conservation. Specialist, and she, wouldn't let anybody else work on her works or anything in decline so he came down and did he came got the works and. Now. You're about to go back to Washington right. Getting back to Washington Howard University, right chairman. Of the art department. No. Associate. Professor, I'm sorry and. You're working with students, and you're involved. Professor. Porter and chips, when Professor Porter pass. Can. You talk about that returning, from the South coming back to. Washington. DC and. Howard University well it was in a way like coming, home in many ways and. Fisk. Had really given me my start. To. Do both art and scholarship. And. I. I. Had. Done. The two centuries of black American, art. For. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art the, publication, it had. Widespread, distribution. So. People then. Kind. Of you. Know got to know that I was interested in both areas mm-hmm. I own, two, special. Occasions I shared. The department of art in professor Porter's absence, and, then. When I left, Howard. In, 1966. To. Go to Fisk that's when I. Brought. In artists, like Jacob Lawrence, romare. Bearden, Parma, Hayden mm-hmm, and did. Catalogs of their work and this hadn't been done before with. Exception, of group. Shows for the most part Charles white, at. The Toussaint L'Ouverture series. There by Jacob Lawrence and and, I would invite the artists down we had an artist-in-residence, program. And. These. Artists, would come for like three days but. Then we also had, sponsorship, from the Rockefeller, Foundation. Where. An artist could come for a whole year. So. Walter Williams came. Carleton. Moss the filmmaker came. From. Time to time. Jake. Lawrence came is the visiting artist for like three, days and so forth but it, was a very vibrant program, a very good. Time for. Artists. And. Up. Until recently I think some of the artists, who came there was never publication. On their work. Prior. To that I think. He also were giving some of the these artists, their first academic. Or, formal position, at. The University didn't you I think you told me you gave Martin for your as first position, at Fish University, was it Martin well.
Martin. Some Washington, as you know and he. Had attended. The. Catholic University of America for. Undergraduate, work. And then he joined the Peace Corps he. Was an undergraduate at CU. When I was in graduate school so. We. Knew each other in that regard. But. He. Went into the Peace Corps went to Sierra Leone and. I. Had a letter we stayed in touch so I had a letter from him while, he was there and he said I'm thinking of. Going. To graduate school when I come back to the States Easter, but I'm going to Sweden and study. Furniture. And design what. Have you printmaking. And, but. When, I returned what, what do you think where should I go to school and, I said choose, either Yale or Cranbrook, so. He chose Yale. So. He finished up at Yale in. 1971. And, he. Wrote and said now I've got a Master, of Fine Arts degree and, I, want to teach but I don't have a job and I said well I just happen to have an opening here at Fisk would you consider coming. And. He came and he stayed two years and he. Had his first one, person, exhibition, at Fitness, and. When he was beginning to break, out of the tradition. And. Doing, more. Modernist, forms. And. From, there he left. And went to New York for a while then came to the University of Maryland and then I, you. Came to University, of Maryland yes, I came to America to teach 77. And he was there but. He was there. For only a year after I arrived so, not only were you teaching young, people and, became, the chairman in Maryland is that the reason that you actually came to University of Maryland the chairmanship, I didn't. Come there as chair I came there nights in. January. Of 1977. I, was. Recruited, by dr., George Levitin who was a very well-known. Art. Historian. Of. French. Art history, mainly. 17. To 18 19th, century French art and. He. Had heard me lecture, here on the Harlem Renaissance and. He was impressed and, he, asked. Professor. Richard Clank who was. On the faculty at that time whom, I had known from graduate school at CU, to. Get in touch with me to see if I would be interested in coming there to teach to introduce courses, in african-american. Art history and that's, how that got, going I came in the spring of 1977. Dr.. Levatino went on leave. The. Institute. Of, Advanced. Studies at Princeton I, think was one of the first time that an art historian, had. Been invited and. Someone. Took his place as acting chair. But. Then he decided he would not resume. The chairmanship, and so the search went out and I was appointed chair in, that it, was a little. Jealousy. By some of your colleagues right, that you had disattention. And, support, at University, of Maryland didn't. You tell me once that that chair. Had argued, and explained to his. Colleagues. And your colleagues, that you had to find the feel. Well, that's. Eleventeen, did, that one day I didn't. Have a PhD I, had. Honorary. Degrees and so forth but. There. Was some concern about my teaching. PhD. Students, and dr.. Levatino, came, to my defense and he said if this man were at Harvard you wouldn't even ask what got a degree. He. Said he's defined to feel and, how many of you have defined a field. That. Kind of took care of this. Good. These are cement images, that are up about your work with students, and, your. Teachers. At the University of Maryland how did you find. Your. Experience, coming back to the DC area and Maryland, after being away for quite a while but also the. Institutions, and the reaction, to the, work of african-american, artists now you have produced a large body of work, catalogs. Essays, and, two centuries, so, you were impacting, institutions. And, institutions we're now, understood. That they had to acquire those works acknowledge, those works and documentos, works how, did you find a Washington, DC environment. In. Regards, to those issues and concerns. Well. There was a welcoming, attitude in, many ways because. Remember. I'm I'm patterning. My. Introduction. Of the studies at Maryland, after what I've learned at Howard University. How. It is still doing, exhibitions, of african-american, artists so it wasn't in strained area. So. When, I introduced, the courses, on the undergraduate, level at. The University of Maryland in 1978. Students. Enrolled and. The. Word, got around that you, know there's a new area of study within, the, American, art curriculum was, never separated. Lizabeth. Johns was over. The American art at that time and she, was very very, cooperative. In how, and. Students. Who had taken the courses on the undergraduate level then said what we'd like to take these courses on the graduate level and that's when the. Discussion. Ensued I'm not sure sure, you know I don't. Have a doctorate. And why am i teaching PhD. And masters students well. That. Blew over and, students. Start coming one of the first students. We got on the masters level was young lady by the name of. Renee. Etta from. Oberlin College and. She. Told. Me a year so, ago how. She chose.
Maryland. I had, gone to, the. Toledo. Museum. Of, Art. The. 1980s. To deliver a lecture and she came from, Overland, and, she. Said. She. Decided. She, wanted. To be like. That, man teaching, this course and so. When, she found out that I. Was. Teaching in Maryland she came and enrolled and she went all the way through the PhD well. They were other students like that yeah I know a few of them that had been inspired by yours. At. One time I think we probably, had the lead in in in, producing. PhD. Students. In. The field of african-american. Art history, when, you look back - how do you think about that in the context, of what's happening what african-american, history now this is sort of a dude divergent. But that. You were working on that foundation. Making, those arguments, trying to get these artists recognized, Klaw Clark, Jacob, Louis all of them recognized, and now, when you come back and I think you gave you employ, Sam Gilliam for a while at the University m'kay, me talk for us keep Morris employed. So. These artists, now have received, acclaim and. Recognition and. A large part due to your efforts. Open that cannon up how. Do you look at that now seeing, this. Accomplishment. I know Bearden was was. Taking on a similar, role you know trying, to make it possible for artists, to be recognized, that we're at Muller. Well. It. Wasn't easy, and. It. Was the only institution, in the area, at that time, that. Was. Bringing, these, students, in on that particular level I, mean we had two masters level at Howard University but, didn't have PhD. Level in art history so. I think they felt comfortable coming, there with a, faculty. Like. Me. Keith marcin sure Sam. Gilliam, Stephanie. Poe and others, who. Had. A major influence in, their lives at that time, so. Marilyn. Imprinted. The. National. Scene a certain, way by. That time we had perhaps. Graduated. Five or six. People. With the PhD in American, art, history with emphasis on african-american. You know it's kind of interesting because when you're studying you. Often look at text written by authors, that you have no connection, to so. Here these students, are looking at, texts, that you have written, I remember. Being undergraduate. School and there was only a dent pamphlet, of Elizabeth, Catholic so although, Hughley. Smith had attendant, the claim astute of art. Charles. LA but, no documentation. Just a slim slim. Catalog. Or, brochure, bliss big family so here in these courses that you're teaching you're actually teaching from your own text I think. This is kind of interesting and, I, remember we were in Chicago visiting, Kerry, James Marshall and, the first thing he did was pull. That. Copy of two centuries off his shelf to have you sign it and I saw that what they asked agates I've, seen it so many times where, these, scholars. Have attributed their, success, to you, establishing. That foundation, well. I think perhaps. The. Classical. Example, would be. When. Marc Bradford, came. To the High Museum. Three. Years. Ago to. Receive the. David. C Driscoll prize. $25,000. Prize is given annually to an art historian, or. Practicing. Artist an, annual basis and. He. Was accosted, and said they said look you get five, million dollars for your painting, why. Would you come down here and take. $25. Which. Is the largest award given to any african-american, artisan, scholar to, my knowledge in the country, yes. So. He said. It's. Not about and, as my. Friends. Very often say you're so articulate. Marc, was, so articulate. He. Won't mind my saying that. Marc. Said I. Am. Receiving. This award. Because. This. Man has labored, over, the. Years to make it possible, he. Said I'm, paraphrasing him, but. Basically. That's what he said he said he. Probably. Has. Forsaken his own art pushing. People. Like me and others he.
Said And I'm standing on their shoulders now, this. Is why I am receiving. This award and, he said it's not that I need the money said I'll give it to my foundation and, it'll go out to others which, I thought was an interesting way, of putting it but you hadn't forsaken, your art you had always done, your art well, I try yeah and you were recognized, for that contribution, here, by, the president, of, Maryland. Who received a Presidential. Award. But. Then you had an exhibition in, the following slide you'll see an exhibition you, had. This is the narrative gathering, that you put together but, later you had your own one-person, show bomani. But money go it's a one-person. Show in San Francisco, so you were still making art, and. You were receiving recognition for, making that art here you would love lace O'Neil. And. A few other people you recognize that does that Marsh. This. Is at the University, of Maryland College Park you hosted exhibition. Of their work so you were giving platforms. Not. Just jobs and, documenting, their work but you were giving a platform for them to show so. It only illustrates, how important, it is to be in a position of power and authority to be at the table so. You can impact, a cannon you, can't do it when you're not at the table, well. That's trust I. People. Would say to me. Why. Are you serving on the Board of Trustees of the American Federation of artists this was in the 60s. Or, why are you are you. Know why, would you leave Fisk and come up to be on a panel at NEA and so on so on well like you're safe you're not at the table and you don't really know what's going on and. It's. Important, to be there regardless, of. What. Someone, else may think your role is sure and. Frankly. Speaking I was never out there waving a banner. But. I knew what I was doing and. I. Knew. It was important, and, I. Had to keep at it. Regardless. Of what people said, no, I wasn't get any great. Measure of pleasure. Oh certainly, wasn't getting any money for doing it but you're willing to spend that 10,000, hours at. Work to. Make it happen and then, you were recognized, nationally, for that by President, Clinton for that contribution that's. In humanities, award, and. Inner, with, the Clintons at White House and. That napkin that you slipped out of there the, presidential, napkin you, still have that I still. Have it. So. This I this, now is national, recognition, I know you're, in Europe interesting, enough in Europe they, have began making, videos about, the narratives, interviewing. You on BBC, so, America. Was recognized, but there also was slow to, get the kind of prominence, and I remember you telling me a story you, were on an interview and I think, Hughes the. Popular. Critic said that well we don't need to be looking at african-american, art it's not important, art being made and, it was a commentator. Kramer, Hilton, Kramer yeah and there was a commentator, who said it was critically. Important, not just commentary but he was a scholar at Princeton, yeah Sam. Hunter Sam hunter is about Madison's, teacher but he stood and said no this is important. Work, yeah. Hilton, Kramer and I, used. To have our ups, and downs, in. 1976. When two centuries of black American art exhibition. Came to the Brooklyn Museum. Hilton, Cramer was the. Big. Art critic for the New York Times and. He. Took. About 3/4, of page. In the Sunday Times.
Literally. Putting the exhibition, down no such thing as black art it's social, history, well, everything, is social history but. He. Didn't realize that I, was. Gonna have a comeback, so. Tom Brokaw invited, me onto the Today Show. Well. But, Hilton Cramer says is no. Such thing as his. Black art I said. Who is Hilton Cramer. Fight. Back and forth and then when Sam hunter, wrote, the book on corporate. Sponsorship, of art in America, and devoted. 12 pages. To. Two centuries. Then. Cramer comes up again he says why would a scholar. Like you know, like a Sam, hunter, there's. Old-time to what, he. Was really saying this misfit, Dave, Driscoll is out, there doing and so forth and so on and my, response, was. Mr.. Kramer all you're doing is making me famous in New York, nobody. Knows who I am. You. Gonna write about me every Sunday yeah, they're, gonna know who I am and I come to the office in my chairman dr. levatino would say, you. Made the New York Times I, said. But look what they say it doesn't matter what they said you made the New York Times so. I don't. Think mr. Kramer knew that. He, was given me a platform mm-hmm. So, that has been an ongoing. Struggle, to, to, assert. The value, and the brilliance. Of these artists, and the genius of these artists, yeah now you were influenced, I think when you were at a Catholic school by, philosopher. Attend, at, the NGOs oh yeah influence, took quite a bit an idea, that the artist could be genius, and the heart of the beautiful and you, made it a part of your work because it also talked about a spirituality, than, work and you I know you're very spiritual, man so, can you talk about how you took that influence. And then brought it into the classroom or brought into your teaching. Of students, well, I think one of the most important, aspects, of my, graduate. Study at Catholic University and. I did a, postgraduate. Study over in Holland at the Netherlands, Institute for the history of art but, in. The Hague but prior, to that it was. There. Was a woman who, taught painting.
And Art. Theory, at Catholic University by, the name of Nelson. Amon. She. Was my teacher Claudia, the Monte's teacher Martin per years teacher etc. And, she. Introduced, us to all of these, modern-day. Thinkers, who, wrote, about art but from. The point of view of theory not just history. Not. Maritime, Sir, Herbert reeds and at. The ends your song so, many others and. Their. Vocabulary. Became, to. A certain extent a part of ours through that core. Study of. Not. Just looking at the object, but. What is the relationship with the object of time to place to history etc what. Else is going on there and so I started, incorporating some. Of that into, my own teaching. And. I. Got. Involved in, doing that up in Maine with the Institute, for doctoral, studies, and visual arts which is the. Only, program. In the United, States now which is not. Doctoral. Program. Which. Is not connected. To an institution. Its, standalone and, that. Is the emphasis of that program, a. Painter. A. Poet. A, dancer. A. Writer. With. An MFA, can. Come into that program and get a PhD if, they, have that kind of, orientation. They saw the visual arts as a form, of scholarship, yes it's, an. Extension. Beyond, just the practice, and. My. Advice to the. Founder, of that program, was and. He you. Know he invites me to come to Tuscany, every summer to. Lecture. They I don't go every some of course, 12th. Century castle. 1,200. Acre. 500. Acre organic. Farm, you. Know they press their own. Olive. Oil, their own. It's. The whole of living in that one environment. And. They. Go there for. X. Number of weeks and. Visiting. Lecturers. Coming in I was. There. This past summer and. Then. They go to other places. To. Milano, to see Leonardo's. Last. Supper and to other, other, cities, and what have you go. To Paris to the Louvre in places like that so, my. Approach to teaching. Incorporated. Aspects. Of theory, that. Noticed. From people like dr. George Smith and then he. Invited me to come in as visiting, faculty for, that well the accessibility also finds, itself in your work I think your visual work. Doing. Maybe, two approaches, are focused, on two kinds, of work one that is I think as a, certain. Kind of spiritual, romantic, work in a way and then. Others have been social commentary, like we see in this these two pieces that are like, ghetto walls, and. Black, ghetto so you're making comments on the environment, social issues that we're occurring, and we. Can go on and look at other pieces that were get. A wall another, large piece, and. These have been receiving a lot of attention these. Works and I've seen them in Miami, at our Basel, but at the same time you are pursuing. Works. That are investigation. Of aesthetics, says. One thing you learn in, the. School of Arts. Is, that. Oftentimes. It's important. To choose an inanimate object an, object it gives you no information, at, all and, that you interpret. That object, you bring information. To that object so these are the, green green. Chair an antique, chair the, chair is not sending you this information. No. But I've, gone from one series, of, works you know everybody knows about the pine series, who labored with these pine trees because. I didn't want. To paint people that people were you, know being. Pretty. Rough. Yeah. This is Pines and foul but the trees were so willing, to be. Available. Available, as, you, know after. I shed in, 1956. Behold. Thy son, as. A, symbol. Of. The. Hate. The. Death of image I just. Felt like I, didn't, want to paint anymore people mm-hmm. And so I went to paint trees. Like and then I came back to the social scene and started. Painting, people, but they were in a setting, which dealt with how. Should I put human. Relationships, this is. Behold. Thy son this, is over. At the National Museum of african-american history and culture. 1956. 1956. A year after, tip, tilted, as murder and I was teaching at Talladega, at that time and I was just so angry, and, caught. Up with I. Mean the civil rights movement, was enforced at that time even on the campus, we. Went over the Anniston, Alabama and. Protesting. And. Unbelievable. How those things were happening so I come back and I see this out. Of my own religious. Experience, of the, cross.
The. Burden, that. The. African American has this is what we are up against, and yet, this. Is a, powerful, statement about who we are and. How we have. Changed, America. We. Have. Contributed. Positively, to. The moral code of the, country and and, and have said. You must adhere. To the constitutional, law in, this regard and so forth so for. Me this was cathartic it, cleanse me of of. That, hate that I had I had studied two, years early three years earlier with Zach, Lavine up in Skowhegan and, I, was still interested in social commentary, he was known for than, his work but I, learned. Later that that was not the answer for me, then. Maybe even a filmmaker could do it better a writer to do it better and so, I kind of moved on and you know you're asking a work of art to, be. A an. Instrument, of social change, and that's a lot to put on a work ask of a work of art plus. It's static, it doesn't, change its. Forever, but. That's been one of the challenges. Is. For the art world to recognize that african-american. Artists like all artists, have not, only a concern, about social, issues and issues of identity but, they're dealing with a sense, of their own emotionality. Their existential. Reality. Their being in the world what does it mean to be a human. My. Emotional, reaction to an event or a situation it's, almost like there's, no belief that African Americans, could be that, dynamic. And, their personality, I think you only paint an image this has something to do with the. Social dilemma, being black in America was, far. More complicated. I think Martin. Peru is an example of an artist that will not be restricted, to that conversation, it, transcends, that conversation. Well Louis Jones used to say up. Until the, end. She. Said yes I'm a proud, african-american artist, and. I. Think. I've made my contribution so. Forth she said but I would just like, to be an. American. Artist I just like to be human. And. You are humanist, I mean we've talked many times about. Your. Connection, to this sense of humanity and the humanity, of students, that students. Have potential, individuals. Have potential, and, that potential needs to be nurtured, and encouraged, and, you have a firm faith in potential. Of, your fellow human I've noticed, that about you and it probably makes you an. Acceptable teacher because. Of that that. Embracing, of that value, now, this is another big Pines but. Before I go forward to Japan there's, another big pine but I can't again this is the argument I'm making that, that's a pine tree. Near. Your home I imagine in Falmouth, you're surrounded by pine trees but. The pine tree is not giving, you that color it's. Not giving, you that that, like reflection. As a, creative, artist. And a creative genius you're imposing that, on that, vehicle. The vehicle is, a pine tree, but. There's a great, lesson in art if. You want to know what effective. Work of art is it has three elements one is, called. Design that is the subject you, know assignment. What am I looking at I'm looking, at a steel life, the, second is modulation, how, that particular harness has, affected, that still light chose palette, color, chose, technique, and then the third is recapitulation. How does a person, respond. To. What that artist chose to do so the talent, is in that modulation, of talent isn't that choice not. Necessarily. The subject, but how you deal with it. So. This. Is David. As and we, did an exhibition of his work in Osaka Japan, and these.
Are Graduate students whose assignment. Was to research. David's, work and to, make commentary, on the exhibition, out. Of this exhibition. David, sold a number of pieces out of this exhibition, but one of the clients. Was. A. Chocolatier. Produces, chocolate, he. Walked in and he asked could we have copyright. Privileges. To take one of Davis pieces, to put on his chocolate, boxes, for. Valentine's, Day to be circulated, all over Asia, the. Last time they did it, was a Basquiat, on the box now there's a david driscoll on the box now. To understand. I negotiated. This deal done where's Ronnie at the understanding. Was that we, would receive the. Royalties, not, Rodney, but we would receive the royalty. No. But I know they pay royalties, and it was very successful so you eating chocolates, and you said david. Driscoll on the wrapper of the chocolates, but. It's about how the work. Has. Transcended, his boundaries, so. I mentioned, to you before that, I was going to talk to you about a, couple of the stories about David. We. Were David, was in Italy to, read and I were in Athens, Greece doing, a conference and, we were doing a presentation I, was, doing a talk about collaboration, and, working, with David the, read was talking, about the David risco Center also David, so she did a presentation, and I followed up this was an international conference, well, David decided, to come over from Italy in time to see us present and, he reminded, us that. He had two, students. That were in Athens Greece. One. Of the students, Sophia how. Do you for us that last night I'm, booked on sambuca. And. The. Other one was named Betty Betty. Truck. So. They just they wanted to give David a birthday, party, so. They. Had a apartment. On top of a building and, you know they fixed a phenomenal. Lamb dinner and we're, looking at the crop list just a cross lit up and night and. What, we find out is that. Sofia. Is a illustrator. Of note children's. Books she, brought out her journal, from being a student at, 1961. I think it was she was the beginning, of the student and. Howard. University she. And David and other students, have participated in. The march on Washington, in 1963.
He. Had his students, out there and. She had made a drawing of David, and that March that. Was amazing. That that was happening but he's connecting, with his students now we're amazed at how, these students got to Howard, University. Well. Betty explained. That. She. Was looking for a college and, university. And she, discovered. That the colors, of the, official colors of Howard, University, I think, we're blue and white and the flag looked like the Greek flag and, upon. Greater research she found out they talked Greeks. As. A language, at at a Howard, she, was mistaken they had a Greek, letter. R. But. She thought they taught Greece she said she actually came there another. Student was there when she arrived. Sofia. And they were just so happy to see each other the, black female coach, students would say oh. Let's. Take you to her and she, eventually started, teaching Greece to the fraternity, brothers she said I thought, it was the most amazing story, that. Was after 44, years, this. Is after 44 years we're, having this party for Davis birthday, and. I'm, Howard University, I must say Howard. And, it still is you know how it is a major institution, any way you look at it but, at that time how, it wasn't it's not, University. I had students, from Pakistan. From, India. From. Greece. From. Iraq sure. From. All China, all over, in, South America as well and. Some. Of the students I do keep in touch with mm-hmm. So, that was phenomenal we, were to read and I was just blown away by this and they came into the conference, they. Hadn't seen him in 40 year and they would had, their hands, although they were just loving their professor, oh we. Missed you we loved you and me and Arica kind of tripped out this, is happening. But, they were great hosts and it was a wonderful moment. Yeah. One more story as we close so you can have a few moments for questions yes. I, have. Been studying Costa, Rica Mexico and, also in Costa Rica so, I arranged, for the. Publication, of a large print by David I think it is his his masterpiece. Is called woman in interior, by, 30 by 40, inches, so. I took a whole crew with me print, makers we had two students. Book. Artists, with us and we all went. Julie. McGee go did the filming, I think we went to San, Jose Costa Rica, rented the. Penthouse, of, a hotel, building we're all up there so. We're doing great work and we get a phone call in one night and I've been going back and forth to Costa Rica for years and we.
Get A phone call one night and the, woman on the end of the phone says. Identified. Herself as a curator, of the presidential, collection, in Costa. Rica and said we understand, david driscoll is in town and San Jose and. I was a little hesitant I've been coming to Costa Rica for 10 years and nobody ever called and said curly was, in town you, know but. David, was in town so we had a special, visit to the presidential, palace and in, that collection now his woman in interior the. Painting. Thank. You. You. You.