Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art

January 30, 2011 - March 28, 2011
Virginia and Alfred Kennedy and Philip Henry Alston Jr. Galleries

Seventy-two works by 67 black artists who typically have not been recognized in the traditional narratives of African American art make up “Tradition Redefined,” an exhibition organized by 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. Larry and Brenda Thompson have collected the work of both celebrated artists and work by artists who have been considered emerging, regional or lesser known, and the strength of their collecting process lies in their considered attention to artists who have typically not been recognized in the traditional narratives of African American artists. The result is a collection that offers a more in-depth, inclusive understanding of African American artists and their aesthetic and social concerns.

Organized by the David C. Driskell Center’s curator in residence, Dr. Adrienne L. Childs, “Tradition Redefined” features works from the 1890s to 2007 and displays images and three-dimensional work by artists including Amiri Baraka, Romare Bearden, Camille Billops, Joseph Delaney, Norman Lewis, Charles E. Porter, William T. Williams and Hale Woodruff. The companion catalogue, which includes artist biographies and essays by Brenda Thompson and Professor M. Akua Daniel (chair of the department of art at Spelman College, Atlanta), illustrates all 72 works in full color and will be available for sale in the Museum Shop.

The David C. Driskell Center 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 preserving, documenting and presenting African American art, as well as replenishing and expanding the field of African American art.

In-House Curator

Paul Manoguerra, chief curator and curator of American art


Alfred Heber Holbrook Society Members D. Jack Sawyer Jr. and William E. Torres, M.D., the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation