Pink will bring her high-energy musical, dance and aerobatic performance to the JMA Wireless Dome on Sunday, Oct. 6, as part of her 17-city 2024 Summer Carnival Tour. The tour will feature special guest, friend and award-winning artist Sheryl Crow,…
Carrie Mae Weems H’17 Honored at 12th Annual Brooklyn Artists Ball
Internationally renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems H’17, Syracuse University’s first-ever artist in residence, was the guest of honor at the 12th Annual Brooklyn Artists Ball, presented by Dior, held April 25, at the Brooklyn Museum. Weems was honored for “her innumerable contributions as both a trailblazing artist and a community-focused activist.”
More than 650 guests from the art world and beyond gathered to celebrate Weems at the event, which is the Brooklyn Museum’s largest fundraiser. This year, a record $2.8 million was raised to support the museum’s programming, including special exhibitions, reimagined collection installations and educational programs.
“We are overjoyed to be honoring Carrie Mae Weems, an artist who has made a profound impact on our contemporary culture,” said Anne Pasternak, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum, in a news release prior to the event. “Over the years, the museum has collaborated with Weems in numerous ways—from mounting exhibitions to supporting her important COVID-19 relief efforts—and we’re thrilled to highlight her remarkable achievements at this year’s Artists Ball.”
In her remarks to guests that evening, Pasternak said, “Faced with a world shaken by inequality, division and crisis, [Weems] sought to change our field, and invited hundreds of artists to join her in magnifying the potential for cultural and social change.”
“Almost 20 years ago, I began photographing myself standing in front of museums, wondering about their function, failures and future, and remembering the forgotten ones,” Weems says. “Museums are meant to collect, serve, preserve, reveal and educate; the best of them open their arms in welcome providing respite, deep reflection and consideration. The least of them close us out and seem to exist to remind us of the power of privilege.”
“I have stood outside many museums and other cultural institutions—wondering how to get in,” she says. “Then one day, someone who understood the limits of power, and the winds of change, heard me knocking and led me in.”
The event’s creative art advisor, Brooklyn Museum trustee and artist Mickalene Thomas, worked with Dior to select table settings and décor inspired by Weems’ series “Slow Fade to Black” (2010), which highlights Black women in popular culture.
In celebration of the evening, Weems’ immersive video installation “Leave! Leave Now!” (2022) will enter the museum’s collection. The artwork is currently on view in the museum’s exhibition “A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration.”
A MacArthur Fellowship (a.k.a. “Genius” grant) recipient and the first African American woman to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, Weems has used multiple mediums (photography, video, digital imagery, text, fabric and more) throughout her career to explore themes of cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, family relationships and the consequences of power.
Weems has created a complex body of work that centers on her overarching commitment to helping us better understand our present moment by examining our collective past. Determined as ever to enter the picture—both literally and metaphorically—Weems has sustained an ongoing dialogue within contemporary discourse for over 35 years.
In 2019, in Weems’ first solo exhibition in Toronto, Canada, curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan wrote of her work, “With a sensibility honed to the rhythms and workings of power, Weems points to a tidal pull of oppressions, inextricably linked, recurrent and indelible.”
Weems was recently named a 2023 Hasselblad Award laureate by the Hasselblad Foundation, a prize that is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of photography. An award ceremony will take place on Oct. 13 in Gotherburg, Sweden.
As artist in residence at Syracuse University, Weems engages with faculty and students in a number of ways, including working with students in the design, planning and preparation of exhibitions. The artist in residence program is overseen by the Office of Academic Affairs.
Weems first came to Syracuse in 1988 to participate in Light Work’s artist-in-residence program. Over the years, she has participated in several programs at Light Work and has a long history of engaging with students and the University community.
She taught at Syracuse University previously, and out of her two courses Art in Civic Engagement and Art and Social Dialogue came the innovative and popular Urban Video Project. She previously was artist-in-residence in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (2005-06) and she was a distinguished guest of the University Lectures in 2014.
In 2018, the Syracuse University Art Galleries (now Syracuse University Art Museum) acquired three significant works by Weems through a generous gift from alumnus Richard L. Menschel ’55 and the artist: “People of a Darker Hue” (2016), a 15-minute video, and “All the Boys (Blocked 1)” and “All the Boys (Blocked 2)” (2016), archival photographic prints with screenprint.
Recently, through her nonprofit organization, Social Studies 101, Weems created RESIST COVID/TAKE 6!, a public-art campaign that addresses the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Latino and Indigenous communities, which has been activated by museums across the nation and abroad. In July 2020, she was honored by the City of Syracuse for the project.
Weems has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and
international museums, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Frist Art Museum, Nashville; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain.
She has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including the MacArthur Fellowship, U.S. State Department’s Medals of Arts, Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, National Endowment of the Arts fellowship and Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, among many others.
Weems is represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Weems has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2008.
She was bestowed an honorary doctorate by the University in 2017 (along with honorary degrees from Bowdoin College, the California College of Art, Colgate University, the New York School of Visual Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art and Smith College).
Weems earned a B.F.A. degree at the California Institute of the Arts and an M.F.A. degree at the University of California, San Diego, and studied in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley.