Currently on view at the Guggenheim is Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, a mid-career retrospective of the artist's work featuring over 200 pieces that explore race, gender, class, identity, and social relations.
Born in Portland, Oregon in 1953, Weems, a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, is the first African-American woman artist to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim. Some highlights of the exhibition include one of her first major photographic series, Family Pictures and Stories (1978 - 1984), which documents the artist's family in intimate, black and white portraits. The powerful From Here I Saw What Happened And Cried (1995 - 1996) features enlarged, found historical images (mostly of African-born slaves) tinted in red and overlaid with new text to comment on some of the bigoted beliefs and attitudes directed toward African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Weems' epic Kitchen Table Series (1990) combines text and beautiful, stark photographs shot in the artist's kitchen and lit by a single pendant lamp. Starring Weems herself, the series tells of her protagonist's - an everywoman's, experiences with "the blossoming and loss of love, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the desire to be an engaged member of her community." The artist's words, displayed in several text panels, are perfectly illustrated through her evocative photographs.
Since the Guggenheim does not allow any photography, you can view Weems' work at the artist's website carriemaeweems.net. Learn more guggenheim.org. Through May 14th.
Running concurrently with the Guggenheim retrospective is Weems' The Museum Series at the Studio Museum Harlem. A black and white photographic series Weems started in 2006, each image features the artist wearing a long black dress, standing before a major art or cultural institution with her back toward the camera/viewer. Taken in front of museums all around the world, including the Guggenheim Bilbao, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Tate Modern, The Louvre, the Pergamon Museum, the artist appears like a mysterious apparition facing up to the impenetrable institutions. The series comments on the "collecting and exhibiting practices of these sites" as well as the artist's relationship with such institutions based on her race and gender. Learn more at studiomuseum.org. See my pics of The Museum Series below. Through June 29th.
Guggenheim Bilbao, 2006 - present
Project Row Houses (Houston, Texas), 2006 - present
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2006 - present
The Tate Modern, 2006 - present
British Museum, 2006 - present
Zwinger Palace, 2006 - present
The Louvre, 2006 - present