Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) has spent the past thirty years working toward developing a complex body of art that has employed photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video. Her work has led her to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems. In a review of her retrospective in The New York Times, Holland Cotter wrote, “Ms. Weems is what she has always been, a superb image maker and a moral force, focused and irrepressible.” In 2013 Weems received the MacArthur “Genius” grant as well as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, she is a recipient of the ICP Spotlights Award from the International Center of Photography and the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard University.
Weems is represented in public and private collections around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and international museums including the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum.
Renowned visual artist and 2017 Inga Maren Otto Fellow, Carrie Mae Weems will be refining her song cycle/performance titled Grace Notes: Reflections for Now, which examines the the role of grace in the pursuit of democracy. The first iteration of Grace Notes premiered at the Spoleto Festival in June 2016, and brings together some of the country’s most celebrated artists, poets, musicians and composers to examine the wider social implications of tensions at work in communities across America. These tensions are marked and defined by recent escalations in violence, the killings of young black men, and the tragic events of the Emanuel Nine. These events and nationwide responses have been contextualized as a song cycle. As its title suggests, the piece incorporates music, song and spoken word interwoven with text, dance, photography and video projection to explore the dimensions of its theme.