New York

David Driskell, Memories of a Distant Past, 1975, egg tempura, gouache, and collage on paper, 21 1⁄2 × 16".

David Driskell

DC Moore Gallery

As a child, David Driskell gathered berries and flowers to help make dyes for the quilts his mother made. These reminders, as they seemed then, of meager living embarrassed him. Paper was scarce, so he drew with charcoal on the family hearth and filled the margins of his minister father’s theology books with cars and houses. Born in 1931 and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Driskell soon outpaced what opportunities existed for a black student in segregated Appalachia. In 1949, he arrived at the doorstep of Howard University in Washington, DC, without an application and, as he put it, “demanded to get an education.” They gave him one. There, he threw himself into painting, nurturing mentorships with professors such as James A. Porter and Morris Louis, whose influences—Porter’s as the mind behind the foundational text Modern Negro Art (1943), and Louis’s as an exponent

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.