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Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star

2/27/2019, noon | Updated on 2/27/2019, noon
The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) will present Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star from April ...
The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) will present Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star from April 11 – July 7, 2019, featuring work from photographer and recent MacArthur genius grant fellow Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953), who is also a professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago.

Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star

The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) will present Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star from April 11 – July 7, 2019, featuring work from photographer and recent MacArthur genius grant fellow Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953), who is also a professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago. His work has been collected by the MoCP since 1993, with over 60 pieces by Bey in the museum’s permanent holdings. This will be his second solo exhibition at the museum.

Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star responds to the September 15, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama— an event that resulted in six deaths of black children by white supremacists.

Organized by Dr. Gaëlle Morel, Exhibitions Curator at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, the exhibition pairs Dawoud Bey’s The Birmingham Project (2012) with a selection of prints from the Black Star archive of photojournalism, providing a historical context for the bombing, and revealing the political and social turmoil that placed the American Civil Rights Movement in the media spotlight during the months leading up to the explosion.

Commissioned by the Birmingham Museum of Art, Bey’s The Birmingham Project was created in memory of the children who were killed in the city that day, nearing the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. Each diptych features a portrait of a child at the exact age of one killed in 1963 paired with a portrait of an adult at the age the child would have been in the year 2013.

Also on view will be Bey’s 9.15.63, a split screen video exploring communal spaces of the black community and the contested and segregated spaces of the white community in Birmingham alongside a route to the 16th Street Baptist church from the vantage point of a child in the back seat of a car. Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star is coordinated by Karen Irvine, MoCP Chief Curator and Deputy Director.

Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star will be presented alongside Chicago Stories: Recent works by Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol, an exhibition of photographs and films by Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol pulled from the museum’s permanent collection and the Midwest Photographers Project (MPP). Both artists separately investigate forms of systemic racism in Chicago and beyond through the lens of individual stories. Chicago Stories is curated by MoCP Curator of Academic Programs and Collections, Kristin Taylor.

On April 11, Dawoud Bey will engage in a conversation with Gaëlle Morel, exhibitions curator at the Ryerson Image Centre, about the links between his Birmingham projects and photojournalistic images documenting the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

This conversation is part of Columbia College Chicago’s Collective Impact series, an initiative that seeks to explore community engagement and social justice in art making.

For more information, visit http://www.mocp.org.