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photograph by Gregory Staley
Charles White (American, 1918-1979), Lily C.,1973, etching on paper, image 23 ½ x 38 ½ inches, From the exhibition Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art ¿2018 The Charles White Archives
Exhibition
Aug 20, 2020
throughNov 20, 2020

Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art

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Due to the University's response to Covid-19, the University of Richmond Museums' are only open to the campus community at this time

The University of Richmond Museums opens Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art, on view in the Harnett Museum of Art, August 28 through November 20, 2020. The exhibition features 62 artworks from an art collection amassed over 35 years by art collectors Kerry and C. Betty Davis. Kerry Davis, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is a former sergeant of the United States Air Force and a retired carrier with the United States Postal Service, and an ordained deacon. He began collecting art in the mid-1980s in partnership with his wife, Betty, a former television news producer. The Davis’ collection has grown to over 300 works by some of the most distinguished African American artists of the twentieth century.

The collection includes artworks created as early as the 1930s and as recently as 2015, including works by artists such as Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, Ernest T, Crichlow, Sam Gilliam, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Alma Thomas, and Charles White. The collection focuses on the meaningful task of gathering and preserving a range of artistic approaches to the black image, in order to console the psyche and contribute to a more authentic articulation of the self. The result is an eclectic gathering of pieces crossing different mediums, subjects, and styles by a group of artists of the African diaspora who are strikingly diverse but unified in their use of cultural and historical narratives.

Unique to the University of Richmond Museums’ venue is the focus on how social justice themes present in the artworks continue to resonate today. To address this, several faculty, staff, alumni, and students have contributed responses to specific works of art featured in the exhibition, answering the question, “What does this image mean to you?”  Responses range from academic analysis to personal queries to poetry inspired by the art. Twenty personal reflections to twenty artworks are presented in the gallery and will be posted online this fall. Quotes by the artists featured in the show or by scholars about the artists supplement the presentation to offer additional context for the work regarding the lives, accomplishments, and activism of the artists.

Organized and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. The exhibition, coordinated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums, is made possible in part with support from the University of Richmond’s Cultural Affairs Committee and with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.

Programming

“Civil Rights, Then, Now, and Always: A Conversation with the Exhibition Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art.”
On October 1, 5pm
Virtual Zoom conversation

Description of the event: Former civil rights participants John Dorman, Glennys Fleming, Royal Robinson, and Loretta Tillman gather for a discussion about their personal experiences and reflection on activism and social justice today.  The virtual conversation is moderated by Laura Browder, Tyler and Alice Haynes Professor of American Studies, University of Richmond, and N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond Museums. Program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art” on view in the Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums. 

Free and open to the public, please email Heather Campbell to register- hcampbel@richmond.edu

A Zoom link will be sent to registered participants prior to the program date.