Dawoud Bey (born 1953) is distinguished for his commitment to portraiture as a means for understanding contemporary society. Raised in Queens, Bey and his family had roots in Harlem, and it was a youthful visit to the exhibition Harlem on My Mind at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that gave him the determination to become an artist. This exhibition, 39 years later, still takes viewers on a journey through this historic neighborhood. Bey is a professor of art and was named Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago, where he has taught since 1998. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and holds an MFA in photography from Yale University. His work has been the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Walker Art Center; a four-year traveling exhibition, Class Pictures, mounted by Aperture and first shown at the Addison Gallery of American Art; and a traveling survey exhibition Dawoud Bey: Picturing People, at the Renaissance Society, Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 showed Harlem, U.S.A. in its entirety.