Michael D. Harris

Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of African American Studies

Biography

Michael D. Harris is an Associate Professor of Art History and African American Studies; BA in Education, BGSU; MFA in Painting, Howard University; MA in African American Studies, Yale, MA, MPhil, and Ph.D. in History of Art from Yale University.  He teaches African American Art History and Yoruba Art and Culture.  Prof. Harris is among the few African American scholars to hold terminal degrees in studio art, African American Studies, and in art history.   Dr. Harris was named to the list of curators and scholars, “25 Who Made a Difference,” in the fall 2001 issue of International Review of African American Art.  The list includes David Driskell, James Porter, Samella Lewis, Richard Powell, and Jeff Donaldson, among others.

Currently Prof. Harris is completing a book-length manuscript, Sanctuary: A Black and Blues Aesthetic in African American Art.  Also, he has written contributions for the African Art textbook, A History of Art in Africa (2000, 2007), an essay about Renee Stout in Kongo Across the Waters (2013), and an exhibition catalogue for the University of Florida Museum of Art.

His recent book, Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation, won two national awards. In addition to doing curatorial work at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Art and Culture in Charlotte, Prof. Harris worked as a curatorial consultant for five years at the High Museum in Atlanta, and has worked independently as a curator for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service, and the High Museum.

Additionally, Prof. Harris is a practicing artist and a long-time member of the artist collective, AfriCOBRA  He has exhibited his work across the United States, in Europe, and in the Caribbean and is represented in many public and private collections. He serves on the National Board of the National Conference of Artists, on the Editorial Board of the International Review of African American Art based at Hampton University, and has been a board member for ACASA (Arts Council for the African Studies Association).