Exhibitions On View
Daniel Freeman: The Man behind the Camera
October 26, 2009 to January 18, 2010
Daniel Freeman dominated the photography business in Washington during
the first half of the twentieth century along with Addison Scurlock, his friend
and stiffest competitor. The competition between Freeman and Scurlock in
some ways mirrored the competing philosophies of racial uplift held by
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.
The Man behind the Camera highlights the work and life of Daniel Freeman beginning with his arrival in Washington DC in 1881 at the age of thirteen. The exhibit explores how Freeman developed as a photographer and at the same time offers a rare glimpse into African American life during the first half of the twentieth century. Opening with his pastel drawings of prominent African American families in Anacostia and LeDroit Park, his portraits also include more famous local residents such as Frederick Douglass. Freeman’s work was sometimes rivaled and overshadowed by his friend Addison Scurlock; however, it is Freeman’s life and work as a photographer that chronicles the struggle and accomplishments of the local African American community only thirty years after emancipation.
Form and Content: Selected Works by Floyd Coleman
October 19, 2009 to January 24, 2010
Floyd Coleman, best known for his art historical scholarship and criticism, is also a mixed media artist whose work highlights the vibrancy and complexity of Washington, D.C. His approach to canvas and paper echoes his diverse interests in politics and race relations, and also reflects the influence of the musical scores of John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Ornette Coleman. Jazz became the muse that inspired Floyd Coleman’s work and as an abstractionist, he used strong hues such as blue, green, yellow, and red in his work to parallel the improvisation of jazz music. His rapid lines and shapes represent the impulsive nature of the tones and notes in jazz music as he endeavors to “feel the rhythm” and capture the diversity of Washington, D.C.