Frist Center for the Visual Arts announces Carrie Mae Weems. Three Decades of Photography and Video

The first major museum retrospective devoted to contemporary artist and photographer Carrie Mae Weems—widely acclaimed as one of today’s most eloquent and respected interpreters of the African American experience—opens on September 21, 2012, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee. Some 225 photographs, installations, and videos, selected from more than fifteen museums and private collections, offer an unprecedented and compelling survey of Weems’s thirty-year involvement with issues of race, gender, and class.

Carrie Mae Weems, A Distant View from The Louisiana Project, 2003.
Iris print, 20 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Carrie Mae Weems.

Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video remains on view at the Frist until January 13, 2013; it will then tour nationally to the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City.

Comprehensive in scope, the exhibition traces the evolution of Weems’s career from her early documentary and autobiographical photographic series to the more conceptual and philosophically complex works that have placed her in the forefront of contemporary art. Virtually all of the major themes that have engaged Weems are represented, including personal narrative, such as Family Pictures and Stories and the famous Kitchen Table Series; the legacy and locales of slavery, including Sea Islands Series, Jefferson Suite, Slave Coast, and Dreaming in Cuba; contemporary perceptions of African Americans, as in Colored People and Afro-Chic; and the universal struggle for equality dealt with in works like Ritual and Reunion.

Weems was born in 1953, in Portland, Oregon. In her late teens she left home to pursue a career in modern dance in California, where she became a political and social activist. During the late 1970s, Weems began to pursue her interest in photography, first as a means of political and personal documentation, then increasingly as a form of intellectual and aesthetic expression. A consummate master of her medium—she holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Fine Arts—she is also an avid student of history, political theory, literature, philosophy, and folklore, all of which she brings to bear in her work. While African Americans are her primary subject, Weems has stated that she wants “people of color to stand for the human multitudes” and for her work to resonate with audiences of all races.

Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting: http://www.fristcenter.org

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