Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953), Untitled, from the series Kitchen Table, 1990, gelatin silver prints, Gift of the Contemporary Art Council, © artist or other rights holder, 94.19a-c

This work is not currently on view.

“This body of work was inspired in part by the influential essay ”Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema“ (1975) by the critic Laura Mulvey, which addressed the lack of nonobjectified representations of women in film and other cultural expressions. Like Family Pictures and Stories, the series offers a valid portrait of an often overlooked subject, in this case, a modern black woman, "the other of the other.” The images trace a period in the woman’s life as she experiences the blossoming, then loss, of love, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the desire to be an engaged and contributing member of her community. The protagonist is Weems herself - a practice that will continue throughout the next decades of her career. The role of words has become more prominent with fourteen stand-alone text panels that relay the at times rocky narrative. Near the end, the woman stands alone, strong and self-reliant, looking directly at the viewer, her arms squarely planted on her kitchen table, where the entire story has unfolded under a light of interrogation. Although Kitchen Table Series depicts a black subject and is loosely related to her own experiences, Weems strives for it to reflect the experiences of Everywoman and to resonate across racial and class boundaries.“  

Kathryn E. Delmez, edit.,Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2012), 76.

Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953), Jim, If you choose to accept, the mission is to land on your own two feet, 1990, gelatin silver print, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Photography Council, © unknown, research required, 2007.25.6

This work is not currently on view.

“An important step in the developmental process of performativity before Weems delved deep into her next body of work (Kitchen Table Series) was Jim, If You Choose to Accept the Mission is to Land on Your Own Two Feet.  Is this the dilemma of the late twentieth-century black man, whose mission is just to be OK, to land on his own two feet?” - Kathryn E. Delmez, edit., Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2012), 46-47.

Lorna Simpson (American, born 1960), Counting, 1991, photogravure, Museum Purchase: Robert Hale Ellis Jr. Fund for the Blanche Eloise Day Ellis and Robert Hale Ellis Memorial Collection, © artist or other rights holder, 92.23

This work is not currently on view.

“… a large coil of braided hair repeats the pattern of bricks in the image of a circular slave quarters above it, at once marking the distance and proximity to the past.” - Kelly Jones

Elizabeth Catlett, Singing Their Songs, from the series For My People, Illustrated book of six lithographs with text by Maragaret Walker; bound in imported red Japanese linen over heavy boards, housed in a cloth-covered clamshell box, 1992.    

This work is not currently on view.