In one way or another, my work endlessly explodes the limits of tradition. I’m determined to find new models to live by. Aren’t you?
Black Twitter erupted with joy last night -- at least, my little slice of it erupted -- when word leaked out that Carrie Mae Weems had been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2013. Of course, it's not just black folks who are happy to see her win one of these "genius awards." She's one of the most acclaimed artists of our time. She's also one of the most challenging.
I was lucky enough to hear her conversation with Deborah Willis last June, at Look3, The Festival of the Photograph, right here in Charlottesville. (Willis, by the way, was a 2000 MacArthur Fellow.) It was a terrific conversation -- they take no prisoners and tolerate no BS. They can also be very funny.
In the video below, which was made for the MacArthur Foundation, Weems introduces herself and her work. It's very nicely done (and much shorter than the conversation above).
Last year, Willis curated a retrospective of Weems' work for Time magazine's Lightbox. The slideshow is a good overview of Weems' photography, and Willis' short essay contextualizes it superbly.
Weems takes the art of conversation seriously, it seems. This 2009 interview with the photographer Dawoud Bey is one of the best things I've read recently.