Art21 Extended Play

Carrie Mae Weems | Thirteen Questions for Wynton Marsalis & Cornel West


EXCLUSIVE: As part of a panel discussion moderated by Baraka Sele at the 20th National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, artist Carrie Mae Weems poses thirteen questions to musician Wynton Marsalis and professor Cornel West, followed by an impromptu song and dance by the participants and audience.

Weems’s vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms—social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an indirect history of the depiction of African Americans for more than a century.

Carrie Mae Weems is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Compassion of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch the full episode online in the PBS Video portal (available for a limited time, through November 13, 2009).

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Evan McIntosh. Editor: Paulo Padilha & Mark Sutton. Thanks: Wynton Marsalis, Baraka Sele, Dr. Cornel West, and the National Black Arts Festival.


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