Few American artists today are creating work as striking and politically charged as Carrie Mae Weems. Carrie Mae Weems: Strategies of Engagement explores a unique body of aesthetically powerful work that is particularly relevant in the context of current debates about social justice. In addition to acclaimed series by Weems dealing with historical archives, this catalogue for an exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College also features new photographs that address police violence. Strategies of Engagement highlights Weems’s relationship with her viewers, which is at once pedagogical, confrontational, and collaborative, thus encouraging ongoing debates about power and resistance, history and identity. Intellectually and ethically challenging, the works in Strategies of Engagement are also imbued with melancholy seriousness, playful wit, and unexpected flashes of hope, grace, and beauty.
Essays by a diverse collection of scholars analyze Weems’s use of performance and masquerade to reanimate lost histories and others focus on her transformative interventions in documentary photography and archives. The volume is rounded out by a panel discussion with Weems about the relationship between the arts and social change.