Carrie Mae Weems explores identity through photography and videos she sometimes pairs with texts written in startling vernacular. In the series 'Ain't Jokin' (1987–88), a woman asks a magic mirror 'who's the finest of them all?' only to be told 'Snow White, you black bitch, and don't you forget it!!!'Read More
Weems is best known for 'The Kitchen Table Series' (1990): simple black-and-white photos of a young black woman at home — alone, with friends, a romantic partner, her daughter. In the images, the artist plays what the work itself describes as a woman with a 'bodacious manner, varied talents, hard laughter, [and] multiple opinions.'
Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1953, Carrie Mae Weems earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, and an MFA in photography from the University of California, San Diego, before joining the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. She also studied postmodern dance with Anna Halprin, and performance has been an important part of her practice.
Carrie Mae Weems received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2013 and a year later became the first African American woman to have a retrospective at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, entitled 'Three Decades of Photography and Video'. In 2020, she was named a Rolex mentor alongside Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Phyllida Lloyd. Her chosen protégé is Colombian filmmaker and visual artist Camila Rodríguez Triana.
Weems' work is in the collections of: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; among others.
Biography by Sam Gaskin | Ocula | 2020
The billboards going up around the country this week will have a familiar message for this midterm election: Vote. But featuring images of protests and reminders of the 2016 election, produced by some of the country's best-known artists, the billboards—one for each of the 50 states—will look nothing like your average political...