CAA News Today

The renowned photographer Dawoud Bey will deliver the keynote address during Convocation at the 2010 CAA Annual Conference in Chicago. A resident of the conference city, Bey is Distinguished College Artist and Associate Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago. He is the second photographer in four years to speak at Convocation, with Duane Michals delivering the keynote address at the 2007 conference in New York.

Convocation, which also includes the presentation of the CAA Awards for Distinction, takes place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Wednesday evening, February 10, 2010, 5:30–7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Bey earned a BA at Empire State College and an MFA at the Yale University School of Art, and he has been teaching for more than thirty years. He began his artistic career in 1975 with a series of photographs, Harlem, USA, that was later exhibited in his first solo 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 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where his works were included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial.

Since 1992 he has completed several collaborative projects working with young people and museums together in a broad dialogue that seeks to create an engaging space for art making and institutional interrogation. These projects, such as photographs from the Character Project, have also been aimed at broadening the participation of various communities served by these institutions.

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis organized a midcareer survey of his work in 1995 that traveled to institutions throughout the United States and Europe. A major publication, Dawoud Bey: Portraits, 1975–1995, was published in conjunction with that show. Aperture published his latest project, Class Pictures, in 2007 and mounted an exhibition of this work that has been touring museums nationally.

Bey’s works are included in permanent collections of art museums worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, among others. He has received numerous fellowships over the course of his career, including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A writer as well as an artist, Bey has published critical writings on contemporary art in books and journals throughout the US and Europe. He is the author of several groundbreaking essays, including “The Black Artist as Invisible (Wo)Man” in the catalogue for High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967–1975 (2006), in which he places the work of African American artists Al Loving, Joe Overstreet, Howardena Pindell, and Jack Whitten within this important era in art history. Bey is also the author of “David Hammons: In the Spirit of Minkisi” (1994), which was one of the first texts to place this important African American artist within the tradition of Black Atlantic cosmological tradition. This essay appeared as the catalogue essay for Hammon’s survery exhibition at the Salzburger Kunstverein in Vienna. Closer to home, his text “Authoring the Black Image” was published in the Art Institute of Chicago’s book The VanDerZee Studio, accompanying the eponymous exhibition from 2004.

The above portrait photograph is © Bart Harris.