Lee Bey named first-ever Vice President of DuSable Museum

Lee Bey – photo courtesy of Lee Bey

By Kyler Sumter
Herald Intern

The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, announced, July 19, that artist Lee Bey has been selected as its first Vice President of planning, education, and museum experience.

“We are very pleased and proud to welcome Lee Bey to our management team,” Perri Irmer, President and CEO of the DuSable Museum said. “He comes to the DuSable Museum during a truly exciting time in our history, with a museum expansion on the horizon, the recognition of our position as one of the major institutional partners driving economic development on the south side, and with so many great opportunities to utilize Lee’s broad-based talent and experience. I am looking forward to accomplishing great things with Lee on our team.”

Bey is a native Chicagoan who has over two decades of art, culture, architecture and urban planning experience under his belt. At DuSable he will be in charge of the education department, planning projects, strategic initiatives, collections staff and exhibitions, according to a DuSable Museum press release.

His vast career history in the city is what led DuSable to pick him as their choice for their first vice president. He’s served in various roles including working as an architecture critic for the Chicago Sun Times and as the deputy chief of staff to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. In the mayor’s office he advised Daley on urban planning and helped supervise the $600 million Soldier Field renovation. Now, he is a writer, critic, and lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an architectural photographer.

In the art world he served as a guest curator for a Chicago Film Archives program in 2014, From Mid-Century Chicago, with Love (and Commercial Breaks): two short films with two commercials that focused on the “the architectural, political and social ups and downs of Chicago at mid-century.” His most recent project is a photo exhibit titled Chicago: a Southern Exposure. The exhibit, which displays the often-overlooked architecture of Chicago’s South Side, will be featured at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, hosted by DuSable.

Some of his biggest accolades include his photography of farm workers’ housing being featured in an Austrian museum in a 2008 exhibit titled Wohnmodelle: Experiment und Alltag, his Chicago architectural photography being the subject of a 2011 exhibit titled Chicago: Then and Now—a Story by Lee Bey at the City Gallery, being a member of the five person Navy Pier “Pierscape” design advisory team, and being the executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee.

“It’s an honor to join this historic institution, particularly now with its re-energized leadership, focus and mission,” Bey said. “The DuSable will accomplish great things in the years ahead. I’m glad to join the team that will make that happen.”