A Nice Surprise
August 24, 2017
Being a CMA docent comes with many wonderful surprises and benefits—sometimes completely unexpected. We were scheduled for training on the just-opened That ’70s Show: Cool Art from the Collection, and I wanted to get a look before the session, so I stopped by the museum after church and headed straight for the appropriate galleries. As I turned the corner into the second room of the exhibition, I happened to glance at a wall label before even seeing the art it described. It was a stunning surprise to read the name of the artist: K. David Brown. There among the likes of Andy Warhol and Romare Bearden was someone very familiar to me.
I certainly had not expected to encounter such a personal connection. That connection was my cousin David. He was actually more like my brother, as we grew up next-door to each other in rural Williamsburg County, S.C. He studied art, mostly printmaking, at the University of South Carolina after a stint in the Air Force. He led the art department at Newberry College for a number of years and eventually moved to Florida, opened a gallery, and continued to paint.
I vaguely remember the piece in the show, not having seen it for over 40 years! It is typical of his work at that time—kind of dreamy, and most definitely ’70s. It really does epitomize that time for me. That said, it didn’t occur to me that the CMA might own anything of his, although I believe he did once remind me of the fact.
Sadly, we lost David two years ago. At the time, he was still active as an artist in St. Augustine. I miss him and think of him often. It is an unanticipated gift and joy to see Basket (the girl with the flowers) resurrected for That ’70s Show.