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Art & Art History

Voices: Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey.

Wednesday, October 22, 1997
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 South Peoria Street

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Dawoud Bey (born 1953) has been conducting a photography workshop for local high school students during a Wexner Center residency that began in January. He has also been photographing the students as part of his own ongoing body of work, which explores the conventions of formal portraiture using large-scale Polaroid images. In a recent issue of DoubleTake magazine, Bey described the ideas behind his photographs and the residencies that are so integral to them: “I tell the students that their lives are important,” he said, “and it is important to me that an intensely human image of them exists in order to challenge some of the stereotypes that often describe young people of color.”

His work is the subject of a recent retrospective at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis that is currently touring nationwide. Bey had his first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979, showing black-and-white images that followed the traditions of informal “street photography.” He has exhibited his more recent Polaroid portraits at venues including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago; and the Olin Art Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. Bey earned a BA from Empire State College of the State University of New York and an MFA from Yale University.