A 40-year retrospective by two of today’s most influential photo-based artists, Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems, is on view at the Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) until Sunday, October 23 for the first stop in a nationwide tour. Organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and sponsored by Bank of America, Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue is the first exhibition to bring their work together exclusively.
“We’re thrilled to partner with GRAM to bring such a historically significant exhibition to Florida,” said Michael Tomor, Penny and Jeff Vinik executive director at TMA.
Chief curator of GRAM Ron Platt said, “Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems have always sought to create works of art that expand the way we think about the world. Both artists have been united in their commitment to amplifying authentic Black experiences and images, recognizing those important perspectives and insights were overlooked and sorely lacking within the field of photography.”
Both born in 1953, Bey and Weems found motivation for their art in the changing American social landscape of their youth. Since meeting in a photography class taught by Bey at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1976, they have been intellectual colleagues and close friends, each exploring similar themes of race, class, representation and systems of power throughout their careers.
“Carrie Mae Weems and I have been carrying on a personal conversation for more than 40 years,” said Bey. “We both see ourselves in conversation with history, both broadly and within the sphere of African American culture. We’ve nurtured each other’s burning desire to contribute meaningfully to the long history of Black expressive excellence. Hopefully, this exhibition [curated by] the Grand Rapids Art Museum reveals that the conversation that Carrie and I have had has both buoyed each other’s work and produced something of lasting meaning and value.”
In Dialogue pairs the artists’ work in five sections that emphasize both their distinct artistic approaches and their shared interests and concerns: Early Work, Broadening the Scope, Resurrecting Black Histories, Memorial and Requiem as well as Revelations in the Landscape. Also featured are videos by Bey and Weems showing their approaches to the moving photographic image as an extension of their still photographic series.
For tickets and information, visit https://tampamuseum.org/ or call 813-274-8130. Located at 120 W. Gasparilla Plz. in Tampa, the Tampa Museum of Art is open Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with Thursdays being from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.