Burning Down the House Artist Focus: CARRIE MAE WEEMS

Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953). Untitled (Man Smoking/Malcolm X), from the Kitchen Table series, 1990. Gelatin silver print, edition 5 of 5. Brooklyn Museum, Caroline A. L. Pratt Fund, 1991.168

The exhibition Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection is fortunate to feature one of only two photographs by prominent artist Carrie Mae Weems that are currently in the Brooklyn Museum’s Collection of Contemporary Art. This one on view in the galleries (pictured above), is from one of Weems’ best-known bodies of work, The Kitchen Table series, a group of photographs that explores human experience from the vantage point of both female subject and viewer, and also an African-American point of view. Like most of the photographs in the series, this one revolves around the figure of a woman (the artist herself) frozen in a shared moment with another individual in the room. In this mesmerizing image, Weems appears to be playing a game of cards with her male companion, while a photograph of Malcolm X hovers evocatively above the scene. The curators, Maura Reilly, founding curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and Nicole Caruth found this image captured their goals for the exhibition so dynamically that they chose it as the signature image for the show! Fans of the Brooklyn Museum will notice it reproduced in many places on the website and throughout the Museum itself.

Carrie Mae Weems discusses her relationship to feminism and art, including the photograph featured in Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection, this Saturday, January 24th, 2009 in the Forum of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

For more information about this, and other events in the Center throughout January and February, click here. And stay tuned for several photos from this program and others on the feminist blog next week!