LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

About Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems uses photographs, text, fabric, audio, installation, and video to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems. Her vibrant use of mixed media revitalizes traditional narrative forms of documentary, self-portraiture, and oral history, while debunking racist and sexist labels, examining the relationship between power and aesthetics, and using personal biography to articulate broader truths.

“Storytelling is fundamental to my work, a way to best express the human condition that has been a focus of my art from my earliest documentary photographic series.”
– Carrie Mae Weems

On view at LOOK3 this summer, Lincoln, Lonnie and Me — A Story in 5 Parts is an 18-minute video installation made in the “Pepper’s Ghost” style popularized by 19th century theater. The work, projected onto a mock stage and framed in bright-red theater curtains, uses video projection, mirrors, and mylar panes to render life-size ethereal figures. These characters conjure the past and present, reminding us that history and gender roles are still being written.

Carrie Mae Weems’s work has appeared in major exhibitions at the Getty Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Awards include the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, the Skowhegan Medal for Photography, the Rome Prize Fellowship, and the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography. Born in Portland, Oregon in 1953, she earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, an MFA from the University of California, San Diego, and continued her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. Carrie Mae Weems lives and works in Syracuse, New York.

Lincoln, Lonnie and Me – A Story in 5 Parts was originally fabricated as part of “Feminist And…”, on view at the Mattress Factory from September 7, 2012 – May 26, 2013, and is made possible by generous support from The Pittsburgh Foundation, Agnes Gund, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and a grant from Investing in Professional Artists: The Pittsburgh-Region Artists Grant Program.


About Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow, and a 2000 MacArthur Fellow, as well as the 1996 recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation award. She has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. Her new book, a co-authored project entitled Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, was just released by Temple University Press in December 2012. Her curated Exhibitions include: Posing Beauty which opened at Tisch in fall of 2009 and touring, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits at the International Center of Photography in Summer of 2007, Engulfed by Katrina: Photographs before and After the Storm, Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Imagining Families—Images and Voices and Reflections in Black. Other notable projects include The Black Female Body A Photographic History with Carla Williams (Temple University Press, Philadephia, 2002); Her more recent publications include Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (WW Norton, 2009), Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs (WW Norton, 2009 and NAACP Image Award Literature Winner), and Black Venus 2010: They Called Her “Hottentot” (Temple University Press, 2010).