University Art Museum
Well/Being: An Exhibition on Healing and Repair
August 4 - December 11, 2021
Artists, Installation Views, Public Programs, About

Carrie Mae Weems

A crowded city street. A woman in the middle of the frame is on a cell-phone looking directly at the camera.
Carrie Mae Weems, Resist Covid/Take 6! PSA(still), 2020, video, 5:56; color, sound, in collaboration with The Peace Poets, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York [image description: A crowded city street. A person in the middle of the frame is on a cell-phone looking directly at the camera.]

In April 2020, renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems led Resist COVID/Take 6!, a public awareness campaign to reach Black, Brown, and Native American communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Billboards, bus stop ads, grocery store fliers, radio spots, pins and buttons, and other media helped dispel misinformation and remind audiences of six preventative measures to stay safe, including 6-foot social distancing, wearing face masks, and handwashing.

The project addressed ongoing dual pandemics, acute and chronic: Covid-19 and racism. At the beginning of this video, filmed before a Covid-19 vaccine was available, we hear Weems imploring viewers to keep themselves safe, followed by poetry readings in English and Spanish by members of the New York City artist collective The Peace Poets. Their words underscore how conditions in the pre-pandemic “normal” were and remain terribly unjust. The poets’ voices are heard over on-the-street footage of New York City offering vignettes of daily life for individuals and communities.

Carrie Mae Weems

Born in 1953 in Portland, Oregon. Lives and works in Syracuse, New York.

Selected solo exhibitions include Goodman Gallery, Cape Town in South Africa (2020); Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon (2020); LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2018); Carrie Mae Weems: The Museum Series at the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, New York (2014); Guggenheim Museum in New York, New York (2014); and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee (2012). Weems is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery.

Weems’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York; the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York; the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; Tate Modern in London, United Kingdom; the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, New York, among others. Selected awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2013); Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); Skowhegan Medal for Photography (2007); Rome Prize Fellowship (2006); and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography (2002).

Weems received a B.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1981, an M.F.A. from the University of California in San Diego, California in 1984 and continued her studies in the graduate program in folklore at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, 1984–87. She received honorary degrees from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York in 2007 and California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California in 2001.