States Of Being

A Survey

Feb 07 – Mar 08, 2008
513 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011

Press Release


A Survey

February 7 – March 8, 2008

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present Carrie Mae Weems, A Survey, the artist’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery and her first exhibition in New York in several years.

Although she has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and abroad over the past 25 years, this exhibition marks Weems’ highly anticipated return to the New York gallery scene. A Survey brings together work spanning from the beginning of her career through her most recent projects produced in Rome where she was a fellow at the American Academy in 2005/2006.The exhibition also includes both series from Europe and Louisiana. It celebrates the breadth of Weems’ career and highlights her overall trajectory toward examining themes of enfranchisement and empowerment through photography.Her work demonstrates her penchant for storytelling as it is organized into cohesive bodies that function like chapters in a perpetually unfolding narrative. It begins autobiographically with her earliest series of family portraits and evolves into a more general exploration of African American cultural identity rooted in American Icons.This includes the exploration of color, slavery, Africa, and the appropriation of historical ethnographical images.Her work then expands into a meditation on Western history, art history, architecture and its implications for power structures.

Weems’ use of props as installation elements accentuates her interest in stories, folklore and drama. An installation becomes a stage set and her practice like that of a director. Some examples of Weems’ video work, where she fully exploits this role, will also be on view.

Considered one of the most influential contemporary American photographers, Carrie Mae Weems investigates yearning, loss, cultural identity, and the visual consequences of power throughout her renowned career.In her determination to enter the picture-booth both literally and metaphorically, Weems has sustained an on-going dialogue within contemporary discourse for more than twenty-five years.

Carrie Mae Weems earned her BA from the California Institute of the Arts, an MFA from the University of California at San Diego, and she studied folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the recipient of the 2005/2006 Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize Fellowship, and was awarded the Pollack Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography and the Visual Arts Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been represented at DAK’ART, the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dakar, Senegal, and the Johannesburg Biennale in Johannesburg, South Africa and she has had solo and group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University, the International Center of Photography, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, the Walker Art Center, and the Whitney Museum. Her work is included in both public and private collections, including the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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