May 29 – August 22, 2021
The traveling exhibition Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art presents 62 selected works from a body of art amassed over 35 years by an ordinary working-class couple. Often choosing artworks over material items and other creature comforts, Kerry, a retired mailman, and Betty, a former television news producer, have opted instead to live with drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture as their principal luxuries.
Their collection includes works by 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. While their stated intention to “preserve cultural memories and provide their community with a source of inspiration” are goals shared by most art enthusiasts, Kerry and Betty do not search exclusively for well-known and/or documented artists, keeping in mind “the importance of gathering and preserving a spectrum of approaches to the black image in order to console the psyche and contribute to a more authentic articulation of the self.” To this end, the Davises continue to be students of the visual arts through visits to galleries and museums and through their voracious reading of exhibition catalogues, artist monographs, books, and online data about artists, art genres, mediums, and history. [Read more…]