Lyle Ashton Harris
Photo: Kwaku Gyaba
Photo: Kwaku Gyaba

b. 1965, New York City

Lyle Ashton Harris was raised in Dar Es Salaam and New York City, where he currently lives and works. He graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, in 1988 and received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, in 1990.

Harris has used photography to explore and challenge sexual and racial stereotypes since the early 1990s. He frequently serves as the primary subject of his images, transforming himself through pose and costume to highlight the workings of gender, ethnicity, and desire. More recently, after traveling extensively through Africa and residing part-time in Ghana, Harris has been creating video and photographic pieces that extend his use of abstract imagery and consider the undercurrents of the contemporary African experience, particularly as they relate to globalization.

Harris was awarded the Art Matters Grant (1992) and more recently received a Rome Prize (2000). In addition to serving as associate professor at New York University, he exhibits his work regularly in solo exhibitions such as Lyle Ashton Harris: Self/Portrait, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011); Lyle Ashton Harris: Ghana, CRG Gallery, New York (2010); and Untitled (Black Power), Cokkie Snoei Gallery, Rotterdam (2010). Group exhibitions include The Global Africa Project, Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2010); Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (2010); and Face, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1993); and he participated in the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).