Upcoming Exhibition

Dawoud Bey

An American Project

Opening February 15, 2020

Floor 3

Tickets
Entry to this exhibition is included with general admission.
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Since the beginning of his career, Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953) has used his camera to depict communities and histories that have largely remained underrepresented or even unseen. This full-scale retrospective highlights the artist’s commitment over the course of his four-decade career to portraying the black subject and African-American history in a manner that is at once direct and poetic, and immediate and symbolic. The exhibition includes his tender and perceptive early portraits of Harlem residents, large-scale color Polaroids, and a series of collaborative word and image portraits of high school students, among others.

More recent projects have taken a historical turn: The Birmingham Project (2012) commemorates the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in a series of deeply affective portrait diptychs. Lately, Bey has turned to landscapes: Night Coming Tenderly, Black (2018) depicts, in deep shades of black and gray, the imagined experience of a fugitive slave moving along the Underground Railroad, marking a formal departure from the artist’s earlier work but considering the same existential questions about race, history, and the possibility of bearing witness through contemporary photography.

The exhibition is co-organized with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Exhibition Preview

Dawoud Bey, Three Women at a Parade, Harlem, NY, from the series Harlem, U.S.A., 1978; courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, and Rena Bransten Gallery; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, A Man in a Bowler Hat, Harlem, NY, from the series Harlem, U.S.A., 1976; courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, and Rena Bransten Gallery; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, A Couple in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, 1990; courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, and Rena Bransten Gallery; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, A Boy Eating a Foxy Pop, Brooklyn, NY, 1988; courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, and Rena Bransten Gallery; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Rebecca, New York, NY, 1991; Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, gift of the artist, 1998.10; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Amishi, Chicago, IL, 1993; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ralph M. Parsons Fund; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Gerard, Edgewater High School, Orlando, FL, from the series Class Pictures, 2003; courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, and Rena Bransten Gallery; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Usha, Gateway High School, San Francisco, CA, from the series Class Pictures, 2006; courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, and Rena Bransten Gallery; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Mary Parker and Caela Cowan, Birmingham, AL, from the series The Birmingham Project, 2012; Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Don Sledge and Moses Austin, Birmingham, AL, from the series The Birmingham Project, 2012; Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Untitled #20 (Farmhouse and Picket Fence I), from the series Night Coming Tenderly, Black, 2017; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Untitled #25 (Lake Erie and Sky), from the series Night Coming Tenderly, Black, 2017; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Dawoud Bey


Major support for Dawoud Bey: An American Project is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Randi and Bob Fisher, and The Bernard Osher Foundation.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts           

Generous support is provided by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, and Diana and Steve Strandberg.

Meaningful support is provided by The Black Dog Private Foundation, Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard, and Sarah Wigglesworth and Asiff Hirji.

Additional support is provided by Helyn Goldenberg and Michael Alper and Jack and Sandra Guthman.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Header image: Dawoud Bey, Mary Parker and Caela Cowan, Birmingham, AL, from the series The Birmingham Project, 2012; Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey