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Dawoud Bey:

Dawoud Bey:


Dawoud Bey
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Dawoud Bey focuses on the landscape to create a portrait of the early African American presence in the United States.

Renowned for his Harlem street scenes and expressive portraits, Dawoud Bey continues his ongoing series on African American history. Elegy brings together Bey's three landscape series to date-- Night Coming Tenderly, Black (2017); In This Here Place (2021); and Stony the Road (2023)--elucidating the deep historical memory still embedded in the geography of the United States. Bey takes viewers to the historic Richmond Slave Trail in Virginia, where Africans were marched onto auction blocks; to the plantations of Louisiana, where they labored; and along the last stages of the Underground Railroad in Ohio, where fugitives sought self-emancipation. Essays by the exhibition's curator, Valerie Cassel Oliver, and scholars LeRonn P. Brooks, Imani Perry, and Christina Sharpe illuminate the work. By interweaving these bodies of work into an elegy in three movements, Bey doesn't merely evoke history, he retells it through historically grounded images that challenge viewers to go beyond seeing and imagine lived experiences.

Copublished by Aperture and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond


Dawoud Bey (born in New York, 1953) has for decades made groundbreaking and evocative work about the histories of Black communities. His numerous honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. A major career retrospective of his work, An American Project, was co-organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2020-22). Bey holds a master of fine arts 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. His books include Class Pictures (Aperture, 2007), Seeing Deeply (2018), Dawoud Bey on Photographing People and Communities (Aperture, 2019), and Street Portraits (2021).

Valerie Cassel is curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

LeRonn P. Brooks is associate curator for modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Imani Perry is the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute, and Henry A. Morss, Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality and of African and African American Studies, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation received the National Book Award for nonfiction.

Christina Sharpe is a writer, professor, and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Black studies in the humanities at York University.


  • Publisher: Aperture
  • Publish Date: December 12, 2023
  • Pages: 176
  • Dimensions: 11.8 X 12.2 X 0.9 inches | 3.6 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Hardcover
  • EAN/UPC: 9781597115643
  • BISAC Categories: Individual Photographers - Monographs, Subjects & Themes - Landscapes, Subjects & Themes - Historical
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