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The High Museum of Art announced Monday that scholar Huey Copeland is the 2019 winner of the David C. Driskell Prize, given annually for contributions to African American art history. It comes with a cash prize of $25,000.

Driskell winner Huey Copeland

Copeland’s writings on representations of blackness throughout art history have appeared in a number of venues, including Artforum, where he is a 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 work of contemporary artists.

Copeland is an award-winning writer and art history professor at Northwestern University, known for his scholarship on modern and contemporary art of the African diaspora and intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality in Western visual culture. He has doctorate and master’s degrees in art history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in art history and comparative literature from the University of Michigan.

The High Museum established the prize in 2005, naming it for Eatonton native David C. Driskell, the renowned African American artist and scholar who’s now 87 and an emeritus professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Driskell Prize is the first national award that honors and celebrates contributions to art of the African diaspora. It goes to a U.S.-based, early- or mid-career scholar or artist whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field.

Copeland will receive the prize and be honored at the 15th annual Driskell Prize Dinner on April 26 at the High.


The 2019 Driskell Prize Dinner is co-chaired by Jerome Dobson and Brooke Jackson Edmond, with honorary chair Billye Suber Aaron. For tickets to the black-tie event, contact Rhonda Matheison at or call 404-733-4403.

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