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“The photographs are lush, the writing inventively colloquial, the forward pace engrossing. This is political art … but subsumed into the universal realities of life lived, daily, messy, crowded, at home.”
— Holland Cotter, The New York Times
Kitchen Table Series is the first publication dedicated solely to this early and important body of work by the American artist Carrie Mae Weems. The 20 photographs and 14 text panels that make up Kitchen Table Series tell a story of one woman’s life, as conducted in the intimate setting of her kitchen. The kitchen, one of the primary spaces of domesticity and the traditional domain of women, frames her story, revealing to us her relationships-with lovers, children, friends-and her own sense of self, in her varying projections of strength, vulnerability, aloofness, tenderness and solitude. As Weems describes it, this work of art depicts “the battle around the family … monogamy … and between the sexes.” Weems herself is the protagonist of the series, though the woman she depicts is an archetype. Kitchen Table Series seeks to reposition and reimagine the possibility of women and the possibility of people of color, and has to do with, in the artist’s words, “unrequited love.”
Carrie Mae Weems is considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists. In a career spanning over 30 years, she has investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems and the consequences of power. Weems’ complex body of art employs photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation and video. Weems has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” grant and the Prix de Roma. She is represented in public and private collections around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Weems participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 1988.