From the prolific Carrie Mae Weems, an artist whose work continues to courageously touch on the oppression, objectification, and isolation of African American women, comes “The Museum Series,” a brilliant and confrontational collection of photographs representing art history and museum culture’s exclusion of minority female voices. Most textbooks and museums alike catalogue mainly the cultural and creative histories of white men, tragically relegating African art to exhibitions of the “primitive” and women’s art to “craft” museums.
In each image, Weems places herself before a monolithic artistic institution, traveling from The Louvre to the Guggenheim museums and ultimately to the monumental Project Row Houses. With her back to the viewer, the artist appears constricted and dwarfed by the massive buildings, yet her stance is authoritative, her mournful black gown lending her an air of majestic resolve. Her choice to print in black and white tones only underscores her command as well as her isolation; the rich tones of her dress stand starkly against grey architecture, almost as if she were a cutout pasted over a pre-existing image. Placing herself within the black and white palette also serves to claim a well-deserved space for herself within Western photographic history; after all, the early influential photographers we see at MoMA, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, are all white men.
The incredible series opens at the Studio Museum in Harlem on January 30th, and her mid-career retrospective opens this Friday at the Guggenheim. Be sure to check it out!
Thanks to Huffington Post
Images via Huffington Post
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