Carrie Mae Weems

(1953) American


Carrie Mae Weems was born in Portland, Oregon. She earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, an MFA from the University of California, San Diego and continued her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. Weems presents a history of the depiction of African Americans through adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes. In her Kitchen Table series, a group of twenty photographs in which the artist stars in an invented love story that revolves around a woman’s identity in relation to her male partner and child, Weems explored stereotypes of race and gender. In her series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, Weems took images of African Americans from the Harvard University Archives and used color and text to emphasize the role of narrative and the constructed nature of history. As Weems has said of her work, “Of course I was trying to find a unique voice, but beyond that, from the very beginning, I’ve been interested in the idea of power and the consequences of power; relationships are made and articulated through power.”
Weems’ works are held in collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2013, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.
Mary O'Donnell Hulme
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