David Cannon Dashiell papers

Finding aid created by GLBT Historical Society staff using RecordEXPRESS
GLBT Historical Society
989 Market Street, Lower Level
San Francisco, California 94103
(415) 777-5455

Descriptive Summary

Title: David Cannon Dashiell papers
Dates: 1975-1996
Collection Number: 2001-36
Creator/Collector: Dashiell, David Cannon
Extent: 6 Boxes
Repository: GLBT Historical Society
San Francisco, California 94103
Abstract: This collection documents the creative works of artist David Cannon Dashiell. This collection includes written, conceptual, and design works produced from the middle 1970s through 1993 when the artist died. Personal items in the collection are limited to a small cache of photographs and slides.
Language of Material: English


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright to unpublished materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. David Cannon Dashiell papers. Collection Number: 2001-36. GLBT Historical Society

Acquisition Information

Donated to the GLBT Historical Society by the Estate of David Cannon Dashiell in 2001. Additions by Sono Osato, 2022.

Biography/Administrative History

David Cannon Dashiell was born on July 4, 1952, in Tokyo, Japan. His parents were Samuel Dashiell and Dorothy Cannon; he was the grandson of author Dashiell Hammett. Dashiell's father was a Cartographer for the United States government and lived, primarily, in South East Asia from the American occupation after the Second World War until the height of the Vietnam War. Dashiell thus spent his childhood abroad until he was returned to the United States in 1968 because his father felt that East Asia was becoming dangerous for non-military Americans. He spent the next several years moving from state to state before finishing his high school years in Florida. Dashiell attended the California Institute of Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California, where he worked with John Baldessari. From CalArts he received a BFA in 1974 and an MFA in 1976. After graduation, Dashiell moved to Los Angeles and worked at an architecture firm. While establishing himself in the field of graphic and industrial design, Dashiell sought to further explore his sexuality and felt San Francisco would be the ideal place in which to do that. He moved to the City in the early 1980s. He resumed working as an artist in the context of the spreading AIDS epidemic and, in particular, his sense that he might be infected with the virus (at a point in time when HIV testing was not yet available). Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Dashiell was a productive and respected conceptual artist; he focused on themes related to the AIDS epidemic, including sexuality, disease, medicine, and apocalyptic symbolism. His works were exhibited at many galleries across the country including Beyond Baroque in Venice, California, and the New Langton Arts in San Francisco. In 1993, he received the prestigious Adaline Kent Award from the San Francisco Art Institute. He died from AIDS on 30 June 1993, just a few days prior to his 41st birthday. His works are included in many private collections as well as the San Francisco MOMA, University Art Museum Berkeley, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Scope and Content of Collection

The David Cannon Dashiell Collection was donated to the GLBT Historical Society by the artist's estate. The Collection includes a wide sampling of the artist's work. Included in the collection are writing samples (e.g. poetry, plays, and scripts), photographs and slides of the artist's visual/conceptual work, and printed materials detailing video and architectural works. In addition to the many slides and photos representing the artwork, the collection includes personal photos of the artist's friends and family. The collection further includes a number of exhibition catalogs and brochures from his various shows as well as published features and reviews of his work. Very few personal papers are included in the collection.

Indexing Terms

Gay men

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