Something All Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art featured works from the collection of Duke alumnus and NBA basketball star Grant Hill (B.A. ’94). The exhibition included 46 collages, paintings, prints and mixed media works by such artists as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, John Biggers, Hughie Lee-Smith, Malcolm Brown, Phoebe Beasley and John Coleman, among others.
The national tour originated at the Orlando Museum of Art in November 2003 and traveled to New Orleans, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston and Springfield, Mass. (the Basketball Hall of Fame), and culminated at the Nasher Museum. Grant Hill was exposed to art at an early age by his parents, Calvin and Janet Hill, and began collecting on his own in 1995. He believes young people should see African American role models who are successful−but outside of the traditional sports and entertainment venues. The collection assembled by Hill and his wife, Tamia, a five-time Grammy nominee, includes works by some of the best known and most beloved African American artists of the 20th century, along with some artists who are lesser known but who also express the struggles and hopes of humankind. Alongside collages, prints, sculptures and paintings by celebrated artists such as Bearden, Catlett and Biggers are moody, solitary paintings by Hughie Lee-Smith; paintings by self-taught artist John Coleman; and sketches and paintings by late Dallas native Arthello Beck.
Duke University Press published the full-color catalogue, featuring essays by Grant and Calvin Hill, guest curator Alvia Wardlaw, Duke professor emeritus John Hope Franklin and Duke Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski. A 20-minute video including conversations between the Hill family and artist Elizabeth Catlett, as well as commentary from Wardlaw, accompanied the exhibition.
The exhibition was organized by Grant Hill and sponsored at the Nasher Museum by Wachovia Corporation.
Image: Arthello Beck, Jr., Confrontation (detail), 1969. Oil, 31 x 36 3/4 inches. The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art.