Carrie Mae Weems: “Roaming”

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Episode #119: Carrie Mae Weems describes the impetus for her series Roaming (2006). An investigation into “the edifice of power,” Weems performed a series of photographic actions throughout Rome, Italy, contrasting her body with grand architectural structures and monumental surroundings.

Weems’s vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms—social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an indirect history of the depiction of African Americans for more than a century.

Carrie Mae Weems is featured in the Season 5 (2005) episode Compassion of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online via PBS Video or download to own via iTunes (link opens application).

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Catherine Tatge. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Jack Shainman Gallery & Carrie Mae Weems. © 2010 Art21, Inc.

Contributor
Wesley Miller is the Associate Curator at Art21. Miller co-curates the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series. He is also co-creator of the series New York Close Up.

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