Reflections for Now

22 June 2023 to 3 September 2023 Barbican Art Gallery

Carrie Mae Weems Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me-A Story in 5 Parts,2012Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, NewYork / Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin
Opening 22 June 2023, Barbican Art Gallery is proud to present the first major solo exhibition of Carrie Mae Weems in a UK institution. Widely considered to be one of the most influential American artists working today, Weems is celebrated for her exploration of cultural identity, power structures, desire, and social justice through a body of work that develops questioning narratives around race, gender, history, class and their systems of representation. 

Highlighting her remarkably diverse and radical practice, this survey brings together an outstanding selection of photographic series, films, and installations spanning over three decades, many of which have never been seen before in the UK. On display are works from her early iconic Kitchen Table Series (1990) which explores how power dynamics are articulated in the domestic sphere and the potential of the home as a space for resistance, to her acclaimed series Roaming (2006) and Museums (2016) where Weems’s muse confronts architecture as the materialisation of political and cultural power.

Weems came to prominence in the early 1980s through photographic work that questions how the representation of the Black subject, particularly within the United States, has historically reproduced systemic racism and inequality. Highlight works in the exhibition include From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995–6),These works are presented alongside more recent works such as Constructing History (2008)and Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me (2012), an installation that, inspired by the Pepper’s Ghost theatres of the 19th century, 

The exhibition captures the performative and cinematic nature of her practice including the epic film installation The Shape of Things (2021) focusing on the history of violence in the United States.Weems populates the gallery with images and sound, reflecting her lasting interests in language, rhythm, and music.The exhibition is accompanied by Carrie Mae Weems: Reflections for Now, the first publication devoted to the artist’s writings.

Further Information: What's on – Art & design | Barbican