Pamela Newkirk, a professor of journalism at New York University, is the author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga and, most recently, of Diversity Inc: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business. She is currently at work on a biography of the late curator, scholar, artist, and collector David C. Driskell.
A 1976 archival film captures a young and focused David C. Driskell in the throes of mounting his landmark exhibition, “Two Centuries of Black American Art, 1750-1950,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The more than 200 paintings, drawings, and sculpture represented the most comprehensive collection of African American art ever assembled at a major museum and, with the accompanying catalogue, defined the canon. In the process, it established Driskell as one of the world’s foremost scholars of Black art, one who would go on to curate dozens of exhibitions, consult for collectors, and strengthen the holdings of institutions around the world.