Lyle Ashton Harris
(born 1965, New York, New York; lives and works in New York, New York)
Lyle Ashton Harris works in video, photography, collage and performance. He captures images of friends, family and peers in New York and around the world in his intimate and revealing photographs. He also photographs himself performing and reinterpreting the legacies of iconic figures from Cleopatra to Billie Holiday. Embodying and portraying characters both familiar and imagined, Harris challenges norms of community, gender identity and popular culture.
Performing MJ (2006) documents a performance Harris first presented at Yale University. He arrived in a lecture hall in character as Michael Jackson, and began performing a grueling series of actions, setting the stage for viewers to confront societal violence. A second iteration of Performing MJ, at the Studio Museum in 2006, is also included here.
Lyle Ashton Harris received his BA from Wesleyan University (1988) and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts (1990). He completed the National Graduate Photography Seminar at New York University (1991) as well as the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992). His solo exhibitions include Lyle Ashton Harris, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011); Untitled (Black Power), Cokkie Snoei Gallery, Amsterdam (2010); Lyle Ashton Harris: Blow Up, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ (2008, traveling); Performing MJ, Vital Expressions in American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2006); Lyle Ashton Harris: Select Photographs; The First Decade, Centro de Arte Euroamericano, Caracas, Venezuela (1996); and Face, Broadway Window, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1993). His group exhibitions include The Progress of Love, Menil Collection, Houston; Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; and Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis (2012–13); The Global Africa Project, Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2010); Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC (2010); Expenditure, Busan Biennale 2008, Busan Museum of Modern Art, Busan, South Korea (2008); Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind, Venice Biennale (2007); Photography and the Self: The Legacy of F. Holland Day, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007); The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global Society, Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo de Sevilla, Seville, Spain (2006); African Queen, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2005); Identità & Nomadismo, Palazzo delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena, Italy (2005); Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque, Fifth International SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe, NM (2004); African American Artists in Los Angeles: A Survey Exhibition; Fade (1990–2003), Luckman Gallery, California State University, Los Angeles (2004); Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self, International Center of Photography, New York (2003); Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (2001); Ghost in the Shell: Photography and the Human Soul, 1850–2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1999); Les mondes du Sida: Entre resignation et espoir, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (1999); Black Nudes: New Identities, Gay Games Amsterdam (1998); Scene of the Crime, UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles (1997); Interzones, Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (1996); Mirage: Enigmas of Race, Difference, and Desire, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1995); Masculine Masquerade, MIT List Art Center, Cambridge, MA (1995); Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1994, traveling); Dress Codes, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1993); Body Politic, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA (1992); Disputed Identities, Camerawork, San Francisco (1991); and Situation, New Langton Arts, San Francisco (1991).