Dawoud Bey (born New York, New York, 1953) began his career as a photographer in 1975 with a series of photographs, Harlem, USA, that was later exhibited in his first one-person exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. He holds a M.F.A. degree from Yale University School of Art and is currently Professor of Art and a former Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago, where he has taught since 1998.
Bey’s work is included in numerous publications, and is the subject of several monographs and publications, including Class Pictures (Aperture, 2007), Harlem, USA (Yale University Press, 2012), Picturing People (Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, 2012), and Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project (Birmingham Museum of Art, 2013). In 2018 a major forty-year retrospective publication, Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply, was published by the University of Texas Press.
Bey is a recipient of a 2017 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as “the Genius Grant”.
Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply offers a forty-year retrospective of the celebrated photographer’s work, from his early street photography in Harlem to his current images of Harlem gentrification. Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States.
Leading curators and critics—Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis, David Travis, Hilton Als, Jacqueline Terrassa, Rebecca Walker, Maurice Berger, and Leigh Raiford—introduce each series of images.
Artist Dawoud Bey tells the story of his first visit to a museum, and how it set the course for his life as an artist. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.