Dawoud Bey

August 2, 8 PM

Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey began his career as a photographer in 1975 with a series of photographs, “Harlem, USA,” that were later exhibited in his first one-person exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. He has since had numerous exhibitions worldwide,

at such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Barbican Centre in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, among many others. In 2012 the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago organized Dawoud Bey: Picturing People, a survey exhibition of his work from 1981-2012. Harlem, USA was published by Yale University Press in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012, where the work was exhibited in its entirety for the first time since it was first shown in 1979. Bey recently completed a commissioned project with the Birmingham Museum of Art that commemorates the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church fifty years ago. Bey’s works are included in the permanent collections of numerous museums, both in the United States and abroad. He has been honored with numerous fellowships, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2002) and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991).


Bey’s larger project over the past three decades has been the making of resonant photographs of peoples within marginalized communities that seek to position those subjects within their own social space and histories as well as the larger historical conversation about the portrait and issues of representation. While using the portrait as a site of psychological representation, narrative meaning, historical reimagining, and social agency, Bey’s work raises the questions of who is represented or not, and how.


Dawoud Bey holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art and is currently Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago, where he has taught since 1998. He is represented by Mary Boone Gallery, New York and Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco. www.dawoudbey.net