Carrie Mae Weems challenges stereotypes about race and gender in powerful works of photography, video, and performance that blend the personal and the political. Since her iconic “Kitchen Table Series” (1990) debuted almost three decades ago, she has influenced generations of artists. Her influence has been recognized by the MacArthur Foundation, which, in 2013, awarded her one of its prestigious “genius” grants, and she was celebrated by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum with a 2014 retrospective—a first for an African-American female artist.
As an artist who has broken barriers in a field that has historically excluded women and people of color, Weems both acknowledges her overlooked predecessors and recognizes her own capacity to empower the next generation. “I have to use my skin and my body to push for an even wider path, so that another group of young artists who are coming behind me can work, and live, and be, and produce more easily than ever before,” she says in this film. She also celebrates the increased effort among institutions to include marginalized voices, and ultimately envisions a future of art that is enriched by the diversity of its participants.