Photographer Carrie Mae Weems is often described as an artist who grapples with issues like racism, gender and class. But she says she thinks of her work as being about love and “the breadth of the humanity of African-Americans who are usually stereotyped and narrowly defined and often viewed as a social problem.” Weems joins us to talk about the first major retrospective of her work, which just opened at the Cantor Arts Center, and the MacArthur genius grant she received last month.
Sample Works from 'Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video'
Carrie Mae Weems. "Family Reunion from Family Pictures and Stories", 1978-84. Gelatin silver print, 30 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems. "Untitled (Man and Mirror) from the Kitchen Table series," 1990. Gelatin silver print, 27 1/4 x 27 1/4 in. Collection of Eric and Liz Lefkofsky, 115-128.2010, promised gift to The Art Institute of Chicago. © Carrie Mae Weems © Art Institute of Chicago
Carrie Mae Weems. "Mourning from Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment," 2008. Pigment ink print, 60 x 50 in. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems. "Untitled (Colored People Grid)," 2009-10. 11 pigment ink prints 31 colored clay papers, overall dimensions variable; individual components: 10 x 10 in. each. Collection of Rodney M. Miller. © Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems. "Blue Black Boy from Colored People", 1989-90. Triptych, three toned gelatin silver prints with Prestype and frame, overall: 16 x 48 in.; images: 16 x 16 in. each. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Photography Committee, 2001.257a-d. © Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems. "A Broad and Expansive Sky–Ancient Rome from Roaming" 2006. Digital chromogenic print; 73 x 61 inches. Private collection; Portland, Oregon. © Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems. "Afro-Chic" (video still), 2010. DVD, 5 minutes, 30 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems, photographer and artist
Elizabeth Mitchell, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University