Photographer Weems goes video at CFAG

staff reports 09/15/09
For this installation Weems presents two recently produced video projections, "Afro-Chic," a visual risque on fashion and beauty, and the engaging "Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment."

According to Laurie Ann Farrell:
"Constructing History is Weems' homage to the spirit, fight, victories, and defeats of humanity from 1968 to the present day. After revisiting a historical image of the Birmingham, Alabama uprising published in her 1998 exhibition catalog Ritual and Revolution - and desiring to pay homage to the impact of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and death on current world events - Weems decided to construct historical moments that resonate with her as a means of processing, understanding, reflecting, and laying to rest those memories. Weems said, 'Through the act of performance, with our own bodies, we are allowed to experience and to connect the historical past to the present-to the now, to the moment. By inhabiting the moment, we live the experience, we stand in the shoes of others and come to know firsthand what is often only imagined, lost, forgotten.'"

From Weems
During the past 25 years, I have worked toward developing a complex body of art that has at various times employed photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and, most recently, video. My work has led me to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems.

Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of my artwork, a way to best express the human condition that has been a focus from my earliest documentary photographs. This characteristic continued through increasingly complex and layered works during the 1980s, as I endeavored to intertwine themes as I have found them in life-racial, sexual, and cultural identity and history.

During the 1990s a trio of museum commissions resulted in large-scale fabric installations, leading to my most recent investigation, The Louisiana Project, commissioned by Tulane University. This project teases out the hidden histories of Louisiana, condensing a web of relationships between black and white, rich and poor, elites and the masses. The installation includes digital photographs, text, video stills, and video. This first addition of the moving image in my work allows me finally to negotiate the space between museum culture and popular culture, while digital technology has enabled me to make current shifts in my artistic production.

Coming Up for Air was my first video endeavor, first screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In it I wove together a series of vignettes, separate yet linked, comprised of narrative sequence of photographs, moving footage, and live action. On the surface it may appear that I am moving away from question of race and gender. However, as a socially engaged artist, I continue to explore these subjects, while turning a poetic eye to the subtle and ephemeral qualities of love: its power to embrace and to destroy.
-Carrie Mae Weems

Exhibition Information
Afro Chic will be screened in the windows at Community Folk Art Center Tuesday through Saturday evenings from dusk to 10 p.m.

Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment will be screening in the Community Folk Art Center video alcove during gallery hours (Tuesday through Friday 10:00am to 5 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

TAGS: histories of racism, sexism, class,Carrie Mae Weems,video installations,syracuse community folk art center,photographer weems,Afro Chic,Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment,SU
EDITION: The Eagle

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