Among the 24 artists, writers and thinkers who received one of this year's prestigious MacArthur "Genius" grants is Carrie Mae Weems, the accomplished Syracuse-based artist whose work explores the complex history of race, gender and class in the United States.
Weems, the subject of dozens of solo exhibitions and a mid-career retrospective currently on view in the Cleveland Museum of Art, has produced several bodies of photographic and video art that include daguerrotypes of African Americans tinted blood-red and etched with cutting poetic statements and graceful portraits of herself as a ghostly presence peering into history. As she suggests in the video above, her work uses race, gender and class as a starting point to explore about an almost limitless range of issues.
Curator Kathyrn E. Delmez, in her introduction to the catalogue for Weems' current retrospective, writes:
Over the past thirty years, Carrie Mae Weems has yearned to insert marginalized peoples into the historical record. She does this not only to bring ignored or erased experiences to light but to provide a more multidimensional picture of humanity as a whole, a picture that ultimately will spur greater awareness and compassion.
After its run at the Cleveland Museum of Art Ends on Sunday, the show will travel to the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University (Oct. 16 to Jan. 5, 2014) and end its run at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where it will be on view from Jan. 24 to April 23, 2014.