Artist, art educator, curator, art critic, and administrator, Keith Morrison was born in Jamaica, Morrison studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received both a BFA (1963), and an MFA (1965)
Morrison has exhibited his paintings and prints across the US and abroad, and was selected to represent Jamaica at the 2001 Venice Biennale. His works are included in numerous private and public collections, including those of the Cincinatti Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago; the Pennsylvania Academy; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; the National Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art, Monterrey, Mexico; the World Bank; the William and Camille Cosby Collection; the Washington Post; the Burrell Advertising Collection; and the Jamaica Institute of Art. [ Complete Exhibition History ]
Morrison has had many solo exhibitions, including shows at the University of Delaware Museums, 511 Gallery, NYC; Miller/Geisler Gallery, NYC; the DeYoung Museum, San Francisco; the Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, the Luce Gallery, Cornell College, the Jan Cicero Gallery, Chicago; Brody's Gallery, Washington, DC; the Liz Harris Gallery, Boston; Cavin-Morris Gallery and the Alternative Museum, both in New York City. His work has been included in hundreds of group shows, including exhibits at the Cincinnati Art Museum, High Museum, Newark Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, the Bronx Museum; the Wadsworth Athenaeum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Butler Museum of American Art; the Southeast Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. Morrison represented Jamaica in the 1994 Caribbean Biennial in Santo Domingo.
Morrison's work has been featured in many publications, including the Getty Museum's Mortality/Immortality; Myth and Magic in the Americas: the Eighties, by the Museum of Modern Art, Monterrey, Mexico; Lucy Lippard's Mixed Blessings; Reginia Perry's Free Within Ourselves; David Driskell's Contemporary Visual Expressions; Samella Lewis' Caribbean Visions; and Richard Powell's Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century.
Morrison has contributed articles to numerous publications and organizations, including The New Art Examiner, American Visions, The Washington Post, the U.S.I.A., the University of Chicago, and the Smithsonian Institution. He has written catalog essays for museums such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, the Getty Museum the Alternative Museum, and Pomegranate Press. He has also written one book-length catalogue, Art in Washington and Its Afro-American Presence: 1940-1970.
He has curated exhibitions for many institutions, including the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia; the University of Chicago's Bergman Gallery; DePaul University Art Gallery; the Washington Project for the Arts, and Foundation for Today's Art, Philadelphia. He has recently co-curated, with Helmo Hernandez, director of the Ludwig Foundation in Havana, the 1999 exhibition Metaphors/Commentaries: Contemporary Artists in Cuba at the Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University. For the National Gallery of Jamaica Morrison curated and wrote the catalogue essay for the Curator's Eye III, a multimedia exhibition, in 2008.
Morrison has consulted on art for many agencies, public and private, and has served on a variety of art boards and state agencies in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and California. He was a cultural-economic consultant for the Harlem Urban Development Corporation, New York, NY.
He has lectured widely across the country, at such institutions as the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Metropolitan Museum of Art, City College of New York, the College Art Association of America, the Modern Language Association of America, the Smithsonian Institution, the Pennsylvania Academy, the Crocker Museum, California, the Art Institute of Chicago, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, California Institute of the Arts, the Baltimore Museum, the Maryland Institute College of Art; University of the West Indies, Jamaica; the University of Liberia; and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco. He was also an art commentator on public TV in Washington DC. from 1990 to 1993, and again in 1996. In 1995 he gave the commencement address for art at the University of California, Berkeley.
Among the awards Morrison has received are a Ford Foundation Graduate scholarship; a Danforth Foundation Award for Teaching; a Chicago Bicentennial Award for Painting; a Distinguished Achievement for Painting of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education; and the Organization for African Unity's (OAU) International Award for Painting in 1979. Fulbright to China, 2009; US Cultural Envoy to Shanghai Biennale, 2008
In his career as an arts educator, Keith Morrison served as chair of the Art Department, DePaul University, Chicago, from 1969 to 1971. At DePaul he proposed and instituted the major degree programs in art and in art education. He was associate dean of the College of Architecture and Art at the University of Illinois, Chicago (1972 to 1976), where he was in charge of the day-to-day operation of the college. From 1987 to 1992 he was chair of the Art Department, University of Maryland, College Park, where he was instrumental in merging the departments of Art and Design.
From January, 1993 through June, 1994 he was dean for academic affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he made the first major revision of the undergraduate and graduate programs in 15 years. From May, 1994 to July 1996 he was dean of the College of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. From August 1996 to January, 1997 he was dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland, College Park. In February, 1997 he returned to his former position of dean of the College of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. At San Francisco State, he expanded the Music department, inaugurated an annual national Jazz Festival, and procured funds for projects in art and broadcasting. Morrison was appointed Dean for the Tyler School of Arts Temple University, where he served until January 2008. Tyler entered a new phase during Morrison’s tenure as Dean. He appointed 12 tenure-track faculty members, including four people of color and four women from the US and five other countries. Among the many distinctions of these twelve were a McArthur (“genius”) Award to Pepon Osorio, a Guggenheim and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award to Karyn Olivier, and a Tiffany Foundation Award to Odili Odita. Pepon Osorio represented the US in the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial, and Odili Odita, represented the US in the 2007 Venice Biennale. Morrison initiated the concept of studio lab technicians at Tyler and appointed eight. He developed a plan to merge the Elkins Park and Main Campus faculty and curricula of Tyler in anticipation of the Elkins Park campus’s move to the Main Campus in 2009. He expanded the Tyler curricula vision to include art of Africa, Asia, and South America. Under Morrison Tyler became more focused on urban issues in the arts.
Morrison has also been a distinguished teacher. He was assistant professor of Art at Fisk University (1967-69); associate professor of art, DePaul University, 1969-71; associate professor of art, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1971-79; professor of art, University of Maryland, 1979-92; professor of art, San Francisco Art Institute, 1992-93; In addition to serving as dean of the College of Creative Arts, Morrison is also presently professor of art at San Francisco State University. Morrison has also been a visiting faculty at several institutions, including serving as the visiting Chaves-King Professor, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he had a joint appointment in the School of Art and the Institute for the Humanities in Spring 1990. He holds the rank of professor is in the Tyler School of Art.