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The Seattle Art Museum is set to debut a new exhibit on the works of contemporary artists Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems.
From Nov. 17 to Jan. 22 of 2023, the exhibit, titled “Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue,” will be up on display at the museum as part of the Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries. The Seattle Art Museum will be the third stop on a U.S. tour organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum where the exhibit’s being featured.
Through a series of over 140 photographs, the new display focuses on Black life in the U.S. With the new collaboration, their first with each other, Bey and Weems’ are sharing their common interest in depicting the community through lenses of gender, power and class. Split into five sections, the exhibit features work that focuses on places like Harlem and important events in history such as the time of the Underground Railroad.
The types of photographs include pictures of street life, portraits as well studies of folk tales, and important sites in history and culture.
“The work of these two artists has never been more relevant, combining a tender embrace and celebration of Black people with a clear-eyed awareness of the power imbalances to which they have been subjected since the days of slavery,” said the curator for the Seattle Art Museum, Catharina Manchanda, per outlet The Skanner. “We are excited to invite everyone into their career-long conversations about art, culture, and history.”
Although this exhibit marks the first time their work has been shown together, Bey and Weems have a long history together. In 1976, the two artists first met at the Studio Museum in Harlem, an art museum dedicated to showing the work of African American artists. Since that first meeting, Bey and Weems have stayed companions because of their shared interest in topics they want their photography to discuss.
Throughout their careers, both photographers have enjoyed an enormous amount of success. Bey has been the recipient of multiple fellowships, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, MacArthur Fellowship and one from the National Endowment for the Arts. For his work, he was eventually inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in 2021.
As for Weems, she’s been the recipient of BET’s Visual Artist Award, the MacArthur “Genius” Grant and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Weems was also one of the first winners of the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts. She was given the prestigious award in 2012 for her longtime contributions to the arts.