Daniel Tisdale

(born 1959, Compton, California; lives and works in New York, New York)

Danny Tisdale
Danny Tisdale

Daniel Tisdale is a conceptual artist who works primarily with photography and performance. Tisdale is also an educator, publisher and activist. Now based in New York City, he incorporates his passion for political and social engagement, labor advocacy and educational programming into his artistic projects. He is the founder of Harlem World, an online journal that documents the rich cultural life of Harlem and hosts The Danny Tisdale Show radio podcast.

Tisdale’s performance Transitions, Inc. (1992) was commissioned by the New York arts organization Creative Time. In this project, the artist portrays Tracey Goodman, owner of the fictional corporation for which the work is named. For two days, Tisdale stood on the street hawking skin-lightening products and promoting cosmetic transformation as a pathway to upward mobility—“We make minorities into majorities!” The performance—here presented in the form of an installation comprised of photographs-cum-visual testimonials as well as products—challenged prevailing ideas about race and assimilation as well as affluence and personal success. It was met with responses ranging from curiosity to outrage, thereby generating robust conversations between the artist and the public.

Daniel Tisdale attended California State Polytechnic University, where he received his BA and Otis/Parsons School of Design, where he received his MFA. His artistic practice extends beyond the prescribed boundaries of the art world, including educational programming, political engagement, labor advocacy and journalism. He is the founder of Harlem World, an online journal, and the creator and host of the Tisdale Show. Tisdale’s performance and exhibition history includes Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2005); Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self, International Center for Photography, New York (2004); Danny Tisdale: The Black Museum, Jewish Museum, New York (2006); The Culture of Violence, University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2002); 15 Minutes 2000 (The Art of Change), Franklin Furnace, New York (2000); No Doubt: African-American Art of the 90s, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (1996); Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1995); Danny: The Last African American of the 22nd Century, Franklin Furnace, New York (1994); Untitled, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (1993); Counterweight: Alienation, Assimilation, Resistance, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA (1992); The Art Mall: A Social Space, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); The Black Museum, INTAR Gallery, New York (1990); and Installations: Part I, Art in General, New York (1990).