Dawoud Bey, Portraitist of Civil Rights History, Joins Sean Kelly Gallery

Dawoud Bey.


Dawoud Bey, the Chicago-based photographer who was previously represented by Mary Boone Gallery, has joined the roster of Sean Kelly in New York. He’ll have his first show at the Hudson Yards gallery in the winter of 2020.

Bey, who was named a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow in 2017, is perhaps best known for a series he photographed from 1975 through 1979, “Harlem, U.S.A.,” which offered an intimate look at the neighborhood. That work formed the basis of his first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

In his recent work, Bey has focused on the legacy of the civil rights movement, spanning topics such as organized violence, gentrification, and the Underground Railroad.

In 2020 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will present a full-scale career retrospective of his work, titled “Dawoud Bey: An American Project,” which will travel to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. His work has been seen in shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, among many other institutions.

Kelly said in a release, “I have admired Dawoud’s work for many years and we have been friends for a long time. We very much look forward to welcoming him to the gallery and representing his inspiring and important body of work.” Bey noted his gratitude for the opportunity to join the gallery, and also noted, “The gallery’s program is a rigorous one that I’m looking forward to participating in and adding my own work to.”

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