THE LATEST RECIPIENT of the David C. Driskell Prize is scholar Huey Copeland. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta announced today the Northwestern University art historian is the winner of the 2019 prize, which includes a $25,000 cash award. Copeland will be honored on April 26 at a celebratory dinner at the museum.

Copeland’s scholarship focuses on modern and contemporary art with a particular emphasis on “articulations of blackness” in Western visual culture. The author of “Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America” (2013), he is a contributing editor at Artforum and has been published in a number of additional publications and journals.

At Northwestern, Copeland is a professor of art history and is also affiliated with academic departments and programs in African American studies, art theory and practice, critical theory, gender and sexuality, and performance. This spring, he is a 2019 fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute where he is working on a forthcoming book “In the Shadow of the Negress: Modern Artistic Practice in the Transatlantic World.”

Copeland holds a master’s and Ph.D., in art history from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a bachelor of arts in art history and comparative literature from the University of Michigan.

Rand Suffolk, director of the High Museum, cited Copeland’s accomplishments as an art historian and educator in a statement announcing the prize. “We are honored to support his work, which inspires the next generation of scholars and grows appreciation and awareness of the important role of African-American contemporary art in the broader art-historical canon,” he said.

“Huey Copeland’s work inspires the next generation of scholars and grows appreciation and awareness of the important role of African-American contemporary art in the broader art-historical canon.”
— Rand Suffolk, Director of the High Museum of Art

Established in 2005 in honor of David C. Driskell, founder of the 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, the prize is a unique award that recognizes a range of contributions to the field of African American art. Recipients are early- and mid-career artists, curators, and scholars, roles that reflect Driskell’s expansive and pioneering career. Artist Amy Sherald (2018), curator Naima Keith (2017), and artist Mark Bradford (2016), are among recent winners of the prize.

Annual recipients are determined through a nomination process that includes solicitations from a pool of artists, curators, academics, and collectors from throughout the country. A review committee considers the nominations and chooses the winner. The three-person committee that selected Copeland was comprised of Kellie Jones, Columbia University art historian and 2005 Driskell Prize winner; Richard Powell, Duke University art historian; and Michael Rooksthe, curator of modern and contemporary art at the High Museum.

Proceeds from the annual Driskell Prize Dinner support an acquisition fund for African American art at the High Museum. Over the life of the prize, 50 works by African American artists have been added to the museum’s collection. CT

 

IMAGE: Huey Copeland. | Photo by Bonnie Robinson for The Graduate School, 2017

 

BOOKSHELF
Huey Copeland has been published widely in a variety of publications. In addition to authoring “Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America,” Copeland has contributed essays to catalogs including “Jennie C. Jones: Compilation,” “Clifford Owens: Anthology,” “Multiple Occupancy: Eleanor Antin’s ‘Selves,'” “Black is, Black Ain’t,” “Glenn Ligon: Some Changes,” “Afro-Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic,” among others.

 

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