Dawoud Bey (American, b. 1953)
Carrie I, 1997
Six parts, each: 30 3/4 x 23 3/8 in. (78.1 x 59.4 cm); Installed: 61 1/2 x 70 1/8 in. (156.2 x 178.1 cm)
Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Restricted gift of Jane and Gary Wilner, Anita Blanchard and Martin Nesbitt, Lynn and Allen Turner, James Reynolds, Sandra P. and Jack Guthman, and members of the New Group. 1997 Dawoud Bey.
Since the mid-1990s, Dawoud Bey has created personal, intimate, and engaging portraits of young people that thwart stereotypical representations of urban youth. In Carrie I (1997), a young woman, whom the work is titled after, averts her gaze in a gesture of self-consciousness. Through his portraits, Bey seeks to draw attention to the relationship between the artist, subject, and viewer, underscoring the power of the sitter’s gaze to engage, confront, or avoid the viewer.
He uses a 20-by-24-inch Polaroid to photograph parts of the sitter, then reassembles the fragmented portrait: the resulting image has a sense of energetic transition. Bey has said that he chooses to photograph teenagers because, “My interest in young people has to do with the fact that they are the arbiters of style in the community; their appearance speaks most strongly of how a community of people defines themselves at a particular historical moment.”