Scope and Contents
An interview of Sam Gilliam conducted 1989 Nov. 4-11, by Ben Forgey for the Archives of American Art. Gilliam speaks of his decision to come to Washington, D.C., from Louisville, Ky.; his shift from figurative painting to abstract painting; meeting Washington painters Robert Gates and Tom Downing; the "stature" of Tom Downing in the Washington art scene in the 1960s and Walter Hopps' role; influential exhibitions at the Jefferson Place Gallery and the Washington Gallery of Modern Art; being a Washington artist and a black artist; artist/teachers at American University; the Johnson Avenue Workshop grant; his relationship with Rockne Krebs; the history of the Washington Coalition of Artists; the Corcoran Gallery and the Washington Project for the Arts' relationship to Washington artists; his involvement with the District of Columbia Art Center; teaching; and his working methods. Gilliam also discusses various paintings, processes, materials, ideas and experiments at length. He recalls Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Ken Noland, Morris Louis, Nesta Dorrance, Alma Thomas, Lou Stovall, Al Nodal, Jock Reynolds, Michael Botwinick, Willem de Looper, Paul Reed, and others.