Vanderbilt University will host programming on campus and sponsor an event at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in conjunction with the opening at the Frist of Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, the first major museum retrospective devoted to the artist.
The work of Weems, a photographer widely acclaimed as one of today’s most eloquent and respected interpreters of the African American experience, will be on view in the Frist Center’s Ingram Gallery from Sept. 21 through Jan. 13, 2013. Organized by the Frist and curator Katie Delmez, the exhibition features more than 200 photographs, installations and videos selected from some 15 major museums and private collections, offering an unprecedented and compelling survey of Weems’ 30-year exploration of issues surrounding race, gender and class.
On Friday, Sept. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Deborah Willis, chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, will discuss her book Posing Beauty: African American Images From the 1890s to the Present at Vanderbilt’s Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Willis is a contributor to the Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video exhibition catalog, and her upcoming book Envisioning Emancipation will be published in January 2013 by Temple University Press. The lecture is free and open to the public and sponsored by African American and Diaspora Studies and the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt.
Also on Friday from 1:10 to 2:30 p.m., art critic Robert Storr will discuss “The Work of Carrie Mae Weems” as part of the Goldberg Lecture in Art History series at Vanderbilt. Storr is curator and dean of the Yale School of Art and a contributor to the exhibition’s catalog. The free event will be held at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, with a reception to follow. It is being sponsored by the Department of History of Art and the Department of Art at Vanderbilt and the Frist Center.
On Friday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m., dancer-choreographer Kyle Abraham of Abraham.In.Motion will open the 2012-13 Great Performances at Vanderbilt series with a performance of Live! The Realest MC in Blair School of Music’s Ingram Hall. Like Weems, Abraham often explores issues of gender, race, class and stereotypes in his work. Live! The Realest MC draws on the timeless Pinocchio character and his plight to become a real boy. The piece investigates gender roles and societal perspectives in the quest for acceptance in the world of hip hop celebrity. For ticket information, visit the Great Performances website.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, at 11 a.m., Weems will deliver the exhibition’s keynote address in “Carrie Mae Weems: An Artist Reflects” at the Frist Center Auditorium. “My responsibility as an artist is to … make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world; to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the rooftops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specificity of our historical moment,” she said. The event is a collaboration with StudioVU: The Department of Art Lecture Series at Vanderbilt. The lecture is free, but registration is required. Call (615) 744-3999 for details.
On Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., a panel discussion, “Carrie Mae Weems: Beyond Black and White,” will be held in the Frist Center Auditorium. Panelists include Franklin Sirmans, curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art; and Deborah Willis, professor of photography and imaging at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, all distinguished contributors to the catalog accompanying the exhibition. Katie Delmez, the Frist Center’s curator, will serve as moderator. The event is free, but registration is required. Call (615) 744-3999 for details.
For more information, visit the Frist Center’s website.