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The Gantt Center Mourns the Loss of Michael DeHart Harris, Ph.D.

Harris's legacy lives on at the Gantt through the many exhibitions he curated, catapulting our institution to the national and international stage.

Michael DeHart HarrisIt is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael DeHart Harris, Ph.D. Born on July 14, 1948, Harris had an immeasurable impact on the Harvey B. Gantt Center and the art world. He was one of few scholars who held degrees in studio art, African American Studies and art history.

In 1979, Harris became a founding member of the artist collective, AfriCOBRA. He wrote and exhibited with the collective since their 1980 exhibition at the United Nations to commemorate the 1976 Soweto Massacre. In the Gantt's 2015 exhibition, AfriCOBRA & AfriCOBRA NOW, Harris was instrumental in passing the legacy of the AfriCOBRA mission to future generations of African American artists.

Harris exhibited art works nationally and internationally with renowned artists including Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Renee Stout, and David Driskell. He curated exhibitions as Gallery Director of the Neighborhood Arts Center in Atlanta, at the High Museum of Art, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and for many years at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Art + Culture. His most recent collaboration with the Gantt was sharing the stunning exhibition, Visible Man: Art and Black Male Subjectivity, in partnership with BGSU.

Harris retired as Associate Professor Emeritus of Art History and African American Studies at Emory University. He earned multiple degrees, including a BA in Education, Bowling Green State University (BGSU); MFA in Painting, Howard University; MA in African American Studies, MA, MPhil, and Ph.D. in History of Art all from Yale University.

Prior to teaching at Emory, Harris taught at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, Wellesley College, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. His award-winning Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation, was one of the first scholarly books to focus on theoretical and social aspects of the visual culture of African American art.

Learn more about Harris here.

Michael D. Harris, Ph.D. pictured with collectors Darryl Atwell and Vivian Davidson Hewitt. © Tyrus Ortega Gaines Photography.

Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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