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 represent 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 representing black subjects and African-American history in a manner that is at once direct and poetic, immediate and symbolic. Bey is perhaps best known as a portraitist, and 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, 1978; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, A Man in a Bowler Hat, Harlem, NY, 1976; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, A Couple in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, 1990; courtesy the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, A Boy Eating a Foxy Pop, Brooklyn, NY, 1988; courtesy the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago; © 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 Class Pictures, 2003; courtesy the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Usha, Gateway High School, San Francisco, CA, from Class Pictures, 2006; courtesy the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Mary Parker and Caela Cowan, Birmingham, AL, from The Birmingham Project, 2012; Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Don Sledge and Moses Austin, Birmingham, AL, from The Birmingham Project, 2012; Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey
Dawoud Bey, Untitled #20 (Farmhouse and Picket Fence I), from 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 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 and Randi and Bob Fisher.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Generous support is provided by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, 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.

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