March 13, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—This spring, Amherst College will host a lecture series titled “Life is Art/Art is Life,” in which the college’s artists in residence speak about their community involvement. Photographer Dawoud Bey will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Public artist Brett Cook will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, in the same location. These talks, components of a three-part lecture series sponsored by the Office of the President at Amherst College, began with a lecture by multi-dimensional artist Emily Jacir on March 8 and are free and open to the public.

Brett Cook received his B.A. degree in the practice of art along with a minor in education from the University of California at Berkley in 1991. Since then he has shown his work in museums and galleries across the country while simultaneously launching public projects to interact with local communities. These projects have been carried out in cities across America, from California to Maine, and internationally in Brazil, Barbados and Mexico. Some are commissioned by museums and other public agencies, while others begin as self-initiated interventions on abandoned spaces. Cook has received high honors for his work, including residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Headland Center for the Arts in Marin, Calif.

Dawoud Bey began his career as a photographer in 1975 with a series titled “Harlem, USA” that was later included in his first one-person exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Since then he has exhibited his work internationally, including shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Barbican Center, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Yale Art Gallery. In 1995, he published Dawoud Bey: Portraits 1975-1995, a series of color and black-and-white photographs, in conjunction with an exhibition held at the Walker Art Center. His latest project, Class Pictures, will be published in 2007 as part of a traveling exhibition of his work. Bey’s works are included in permanent exhibitions in museums both in America and Europe. He has received many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. He currently teaches at Columbia College in Chicago and is represented by the Rhonda Hoffman Gallery in Chicago.