A visual and conceptual conversation between two leading US photo-artists famed for their mutual explorations of race, class and power
Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems met in New York in the late 1970s, and over the next 45 years these close friends and colleagues have each produced unique and influential bodies of work around shared interests and concerns. This publication brings together over 140 photographs and video art from the 1970s through the 2010s by two of our most notable and influential photo-based artists.
Since first meeting at the Studio Museum in Harlem five decades ago, Bey and Weems have maintained spirited and supportive mutual engagement while exploring and addressing similar themes: race, class, representation, and systems of power. Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue brings their work together in five thematic groupings to shed light on their unique creative visions and trajectories, and their shared concerns and principles.
Photographer Dawoud Bey (born 1953) had his first exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Since then, his work has been presented internationally to critical and popular acclaim. Recent large-scale exhibitions of his photographs have been presented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, London. Bey's writings on his own and others' work are included in Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply and Dawoud Bey on Photographing People and Communities. He is a professor of art and Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.
Famed for her Kitchen Table Series, among other works, Carrie Mae Weems (born 1953) explores power, class, Black identity, womanhood, and the historical past and its resonance in the present moment. In addition to photography, Weems creates video, performance and works of public art, and organizes thematic gatherings which bring together creative thinkers across a broad array of disciplines. Her work has been exhibited across the world, at venues such as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo and the American Academy in Rome.
About the Author
Dawoud Bey (born in New York, 1953) has for decades made groundbreaking and evocative work about the histories of Black communities. His numerous honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. A major career retrospective of his work, An American Project, was co-organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2020-22). Bey holds a master of fine arts degree from Yale University School of Art and is currently professor of art and a former Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago, where he has taught since 1998. His books include Class Pictures (Aperture, 2007), Seeing Deeply (2018), Dawoud Bey on Photographing People and Communities (Aperture, 2019), and Street Portraits (2021).
Established by an Act of Congress in 2003 and opened to the public in 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture.
Kinshasha Holman Conwill is deputy director of the NMAAHC and former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Carrie Mae Weems, one of today's most influential contemporary American artists, has work in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and London's Tate Modern. Her previous publications include The Hampton Project (Aperture, 2001), Kitchen Table Series (2016), and Strategies of Engagement (2018). Weems has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award, and a US Department of State Medal of Arts.
DANA FRIIS-HANSEN is Director and CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum.