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Dawoud Bey (b. New York, 1953) 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 Cleveland Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art among many others.
The Walker Art Center organized a mid-career survey of his work, Dawoud Bey: Portraits 1975-1995, that traveled to institutions throughout the United States and Europe. A major publication of the same title was also published in conjunction with that exhibition. Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey was published by Aperture in 2007. A traveling exhibition of this work toured to museum throughout the country from 2007-11.
In 2012 the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago organized Dawoud Bey: Picturing People, a survey exhibition of his work from 1981-2012. A publication of that exhibition is slated for fall 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 at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.
Bey’s works are included in the permanent collections of numerous museums, both in the United States and abroad, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and other museums world wide. He has been honored with numerous fellowships over the course of his long career, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2002) and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991).
His critical writings have appeared in publications throughout Europe and the United States, including High Times Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967-75, The Van DerZee Studio, David Hammons: Been There Done That. He has curated a wide range of exhibitions at museums and institutions as well, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Wadsworth Atheneum, GASP (Gallery Artists Studio Projects) and the Hyde Park Art Center. His short form essays appear in a regular blog called What’s Going On?
Dawoud Bey holds a master of fine arts from Yale University School of Art, and is currently professor of art and a Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago, where he has taught since 1998.