Carrie Mae Weems

Three Decades of Photography and Video

February 2 – May 19, 2013

Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, Oregon 97205

Born and raised in Portland, Ore., Carrie Mae Weems is internationally recognized for her powerful photography-based art that investigates issues of race, gender, and societal class. Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video presents more than 200 photographs, videos, and installations tracing the evolution of Weems’ career.

On her 21st birthday, Weems received a camera as a gift and quickly realized its potential to express abstract political and social theories and incite change. During the past 30 years, her work has explored a variety of issues, providing a complex picture of humanity and creating greater awareness and compassion for difference.

Featuring some of her most groundbreaking work, including Ain’t Jokin’, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, Ritual and Revolution, and the recent series Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment, Weems’ work will challenge audiences by highlighting issues of power, race, and gender.

This is not the first time that the Museum has featured Weems’ photography. In 1994, the Museum presented an early exhibition of the artist’s work. This earlier exhibition, Carrie Mae Weems, was organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Opening during Black History Month, this retrospective will engage audiences in discussions of the African-American experience through art. Programs and community partnerships include Portland Center Stage’s production of Clybourne Park and the Oregon History Museum’s exhibition All Aboard: Railroading and Portland’s Black Community.

Organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video was curated by Frist Center Curator Kathryn Delmez. Following its presentation in Portland, the exhibition will travel to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Regional Arts and Culture Council/ Work for Art, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Henry L. Hillman Foundation, Oregon Cultural Trust, Laura S. Meier, Sarah Miller Meigs and Andrew Meigs, Vasek Polak and Travers Hill Polak, Dan Wieden, James and Susan Winkler, Ameriprise Financial, Louis and Virginia Clemente Foundation, The Kinsman Foundation, Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc., Eileen Harris Norton Foundation, Kathryn Bunn, William R. Guthy and Victoria Jackson, Carol Schnitzer Lewis, Kathleen Lewis, Deborah and Peter Magowan, Dr. Alton and Celia Wiebe, The Arnold & Augusta Newman Foundation, The Skanner, Anonymous, The Kelton Foundation, James Leisy and Cynthia Kirk, The Photography Council of the Portland Art Museum.

This exhibition is supported in part by grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a gift from Robert and Richard Menschel.


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Carrie Mae Weems is a UC San Diego Visual Arts MFA Alumna.