National Gallery of Art Acquires Work of Acclaimed Black Artist Carrie Mae Weems
Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Museum of Modern Art

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C has acquired a series of prints from acclaimed artist Carrie Mae Weems.

As reported by Hyperallergic, “Untitled” (1996, printed 2020) is a “seven-part suite of blue-toned inkjet prints featuring an array of historical photographs, overlaid with sandblasted text or musical scores on glass.” Some of the images she reproduced are a circa 1915 photograph of the Morris Williams family — a Black family that lived on Chicago’s South Side — and “Doris Ulmann’s 1930 photogravures of ceremonial foot-washing, which are layered with textual allusions to the Great Migration.”

She overlaid a re-production of Russell Lee’s 1941 photograph of a church processional with Miles Davis and Duke Ellington musical scores. She also reproduced Richard Benson’s 1973 photograph of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s memorial to Black soldiers in the 54th Regiment, the first all-Black infantry unit in the Civil War. The bronze memorial was installed on Boston Common in 1897 and took a decade to complete.

Weems’s installation focuses on “African American culture, sacrifice, resistance and pride,” the Washington Post reports, and it is part of the National Gallery of Art’s “Conversations” series.

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Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art, said of their “Conversations” series, “It’s an invitation to help people see the collection in new ways. It’s about confronting tangled history. And something I’m pleased about is we are adding the names of the men, all of the African American soldiers who fought alongside Shaw.”

The National Gallery of Art, which reopened its doors and boasts an all-new look, will open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and capacity will be limited. Free timed passes will be required. They become available at 10 a.m. Mondays for the following week.

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