David Huffman

Terra Incognita

Co-curated by Elena Gross and Emily Kuhlmann
March 31, 2022
September 18, 2022
Second Floor Gallery


David Huffman: Terra Incognita

Museum of the African Diaspora is pleased to present David Huffman: Terra Incognita in the first museum show surveying the artist’s Traumanaut series. Emerging from Huffman’s lifelong interest in science fiction, formalist abstraction, and social justice movements, the “Traumanauts” are futuristic beings that travel the galaxy in constant search for home. This exhibition showcases the extensive narrative that Huffman has been designing since the early 1990s across a range of media including large-scale canvas, works on paper, ceramics, video, and printmaking. This work explores an Afrofuturistic landscape disrupting the canon of historical narrative painting with otherworldly horizons. Combining his notable abstract, gestural style with a decidedly figurative focus, these works present an imagined and safe interstitial space that plays between these aesthetics. With influences from cartoons, the Black Power movement, and poetics of basketball, Huffman brings us into his celestial world.

David Huffman, Katrina, Katrina, Girl You’re On My Mind, 2006. Mixed media on panels. 80 x 108 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Collection of Arizona State University.


David Huffman (American b. Berkeley, CA 1963, lives Oakland)  studied at the New York Studio School, New York, NY and the California College of the Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. He received his MFA at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 1999. Huffman has had solo shows at venues including, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY (2019); Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2018); Worlds in Collision, Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Culver City, CA (2016). Recent group exhibitions include To the Hoop, Basketball and Contemporary Art, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, NC (upcoming); Ordinary Objects / Wild Things, de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA (2019); and Sidelined, Curated by Samuel Levi Jones, Galerie Lelong & Co, New York, NY (2018).

In 2019, Huffman completed permanent commissions in Oakland and San Francisco at the Chase Center in collaboration with SFMOMA.

His work may be found in the permanent collections of Arizona State University Art Museum, Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, Tempe, AZ; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of; California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, among others.

Huffman lives and works in Oakland, CA.

David Huffman: Terra Incognita is co-curated by Elena Gross, Director of Exhibitions & Curatorial Affairs, Museum of the African Diaspora and independent curator Emily Kuhlmann.

This exhibition was originally set to open in 2020 and was rescheduled for public safety.

3 sculptures: David Huffman, Luxor DX, 1999. Glazed ceramics. 24 inches tall. Courtesy of the artist. David Huffman, TraumaEve, 1999. Glazed ceramics. 24 inches tall. Courtesy of the artist. David Huffman, UFO 4, 1999. Glazed ceramics. Courtesy of the artist.

Co-curated by

Elena Gross, Director of Exhibitions & Curatorial Affairs, and independent curator Emily Kuhlmann

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