Antawan I. Byrd
Weinberg Fellow, starting this fall 2021
- Kresge 4325
Antawan I. Byrd specializes in modern and contemporary art of Africa and the African diaspora, with a particular focus on histories of photography, sound, urbanism, and popular culture. Byrd is currently completing his dissertation titled “Interferences: Sound, Technology, and the Politics of Listening in Afro-Atlantic Art,” which examines how African and African diasporic artists reorient understandings of sixties-era politics through recourse to sound/technologies and practices of listening. As an associate curator of photography and media at the Art Institute of Chicago, he curated Mimi Cherono Ng’ok: Closer to the Earth, Closer to My Own Body (2021), and co-curated The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster (2019). Though his continued affiliation with the museum, Byrd is collaboratively working on a major exhibition on Pan-Africanism slated to open in 2024.
Byrd co-curated the 2nd Lagos Biennial of Contemporary Art (2019), Kader Attia: Reflecting Memory at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art (2017), and the 10th Bamako Encounters, Biennial of African Photography (2015). He recently co-edited The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid 1979-1985 (Art Institute/Yale University Press, 2020), and his writing has appeared in Sanlé Sory: Volta Photo (Steidl & The Art Institute of Chicago, 2018), Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art (Steidl & The Walther Collection, 2017), and in special issues of Aperture and FOAM. In 2017, he received the Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, and his research has been supported by an Andrew Mellon-CLIR fellowship, a Mellon-COSI fellowship, and a Fulbright fellowship at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.