Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Value of a Conversation: Carrie Mae Weems


"Carrie Mae Weems uses colloquial forms—jokes, songs, rebukes—in photographic series that scrutinize subjectivity and expose pernicious stereotypes. Weems's vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms—social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths" (source Art 21).

When I met Carrie at my last art show, it was just amazing to be in the presence of an artist who I have been reading about for so long. She was carrying a small camera and taking pictures of everything around her. We talked about my art process, etc.

One of the things that stood out to me in our conversation was that she sternly expressed that in her experience, it is very difficult to get one's due respect as a female artist. She very tongue-in-cheek added that its even rare to get so much as a compliment or acknowledgment from men in the art community. Being female, of course that concerns me. I will have to remain aware, put my blinders on, and press forward.

Carrie Mae Weems has work on exhibit at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York through May 22nd.
More info


  1. I have always been a fan of Carrie Mae Weems. Back when I wanted to be a photographer ( I'm on Art Admin side now), I admired her work. Her work resonates with me I think because it speaks to the experiences of Black Women, and I connected to that even as a teenager.

    Its interesting to hear her thoughts on how males react to and perceive women artists. Id say its surprising to her from her but it really shouldnt be all that surprising huh? Men generalize and dismiss the work of women, just as the "mainstream" art world dismisses and generalizes the work of blacks and other minorities.

  2. That is probably some of the best advice, and is applicable to so many aspects of life. I live for Weems photography and she is my absolute favorite photographer.
    I just feel that she portrays women, especially women of color like people.