Skip to content

Dawoud Bey and Antawan I. Byrd on Elegy *Sold out for in-person attendance*


Discussion and Book Signing

In-person viewing is sold out. Virtual registration is still available at this link.

On the occasion of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art exhibition and Aperture publication of Elegy, artist Dawoud Bey and curator/scholar Antawan I. Byrd will engage in a conversation about the ways in which Bey has reimagined photography’s capacity for considering and evoking the now invisible history of the Black presence in the American landscape.

Free and Open to All. Book signing to follow program

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 into the initial experience of enslavement; to the plantations of Louisiana, where they labored; and through the landscape of the Underground Railroad in Ohio, where fugitives sought self-emancipation via Lake Erie and Canada. By interweaving these bodies of work into an elegy in three movements, Bey doesn’t merely evoke history, he reimagines it through images that challenge viewers to revisit the landscapes of this country’s troubled past.

Elegy continues at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through February 25th. The catalogue for the exhibition was co-published by Aperture and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Dawoud Bey is an artist and MacArthur Fellow whose work examines the Black past and present. His photographs and film installations have been exhibited widely in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe. His work has been the subject of three major museum retrospectives, most recently Dawoud Bey: An American Project organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Antawan I. Byrd is an art historian and curator. He is an assistant professor of art history at Northwestern University and an associate curator of photography and media at the Art Institute of Chicago. As a curator, Byrd has extensive experience collaborating with living artists and interpreting historical collections at institutions ranging from independent art spaces to encyclopedic museums. As an associate curator of photography and media at the Art Institute of Chicago, Byrd recently co-edited the Art Institute of Chicago Field Guide to Photography and Media (2023).