Dawoud Bey: An American Project
Fall 2020–Winter 2021
Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953), 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 (American, born 1953), Mary Parker and Caela Cowan, 2012, pigmented inkjet print, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with funds from The Friends of Photography, 2016.241. © Dawoud Bey.
This exhibition celebrates more than four decades of renowned photographer Dawoud Bey and his powerful photographs portraying underrepresented communities and celebrating African American identity. From sensitive portraits made on the streets in Harlem in the 1970s to his recent large-scale photographs interrogating the racial dimensions of American history, his works combine an ethical imperative with an unparalleled mastery of his medium.
Co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the exhibition will feature approximately eighty works that span the breadth of Bey’s career, from his earliest street portraits made in Harlem in the 1970s to his most recent series reimagining sites of the Underground Railroad (2017).
The High has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Bey, who was commissioned in 1996 for the Museum’s inaugural Picturing the South series, which asks noted photographers to turn their lens toward the American South. For his project, Bey collaborated with Atlanta high school students to create empathetic, larger-than-life portraits. Made with the monumental 20 x 24-inch Polaroid camera, these photographs explore the complexity of adolescence as a time of critical identity formation and expand the concept of portraiture. The High now holds more than fifty photographs by Bey, one of the most significant museum collections of his work.
Dawoud Bey: An American Project will include work from the artist’s eight major series and is organized to reflect the development of Bey’s vision throughout his career and to highlight his enduring engagement with portraiture, place, and history.
Dawoud Bey: An American Project is co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
This exhibition is made possible by
Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor
Exhibition Series Sponsors
Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
Tom and Susan Wardell
Rod and Kelly Westmoreland
Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole
Robin and Hilton Howell
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.