The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has named Huey Copeland the winner of its 2019 David C. Driskell Prize, which recognizes artists, historians, and curators who have made significant achievements in the field of African-American art history. Copeland receives $25,000, and he will be honored in April at a dinner at the museum in recognition of the prize.
Copeland’s writings on representations of blackness throughout art history have appeared in a number of venues, including Artforum, where he serves as contributing editor, and in his 2013 book Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America, which focuses on how slavery continues to inform the practices of contemporary artists. He is a tenured associate professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and he is currently at work on two books—an anthology of his writings and a tome about black womanhood and Western art over the past few centuries.
Past winners of the Driskell Prize have included artists Amy Sherald and Mark Bradford and California African American Museum deputy director Naima J. Keith. This year’s jury included art historian Kellie Jones; Richard Powell, a professor of art and art history at Duke University; and Michael Rooks, the High’s curator of modern and contemporary art.
In a statement, Rand Suffolk, the High’s director, said, “Dr. Copeland’s extensive accomplishments as an art historian and educator make him a deserving recipient of this year’s Driskell 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.”