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Conversation: Dawoud Bey



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  • Please note that this program is at capacity. A standby line will form outside of the Columbus Drive entrance at 5:30 pm for seats that become available.

Please note that this program has been moved to Rubloff Auditorium.

Dawoud Bey Portrait By Jason Madsen

Dawoud Bey. Photo by Jason Madsen. 

Join photographer Dawoud Bey as he discusses his new series, Night Coming Tenderly, Black, which reimagines sites in and around Cleveland along the last stages of the Underground Railroad, with Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator of Photography Matthew Witkovsky. Following the program, enjoy a reception celebrating the artist.

Dawoud Bey Untitled 1 Picket Fence And Farm House

Dawoud Bey. Untitled #1 (Picket Fence and Farmhouse), from the series Night Coming Tenderly, Black, 2017.
Rennie Collection, Vancouver. © Dawoud Bey.

About the exhibition: 

Night Coming Tenderly, Black is the first museum showing of the series by Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953), in which the veteran portraitist turns from living people to ghosts and their pathways. According to Bey’s artist statement from the 2018 FRONT International Triennial, where the series was first shown,  

The Underground Railroad is as much myth as it is reality. Its effectiveness was premised on both the secret movements of slaves escaping to freedom and various “stations,” which temporarily hid them before they could make their final passage to freedom. Moving about with the assistance of various anonymous sympathetic individuals, or “conductors,” their movements often took place under cover of darkness. The challenge for me with this project is to make this history, which has always been unseen, somehow tangible, and to visualize that landscape in a way that resonates in this contemporary moment.

Persons with disabilities who would like to request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program are encouraged to send an email to two weeks in advance of the program. 


The reception is presented by the museum’s Leadership Advisory Committee.


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