LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University will host the exhibit, "Carrie Mae Weems: The Louisiana Project," Oct. 4 through Nov. 22.
"The Louisiana Project" is an installation incorporating still photography, narrative, and video projection as part of an examination of the complex history of New Orleans and the resulting commingling culture.
An internationally recognized photographer and social critic who has called herself a "cultural worker," Weems addresses issues of race, gender and identity in her work.
According to Dan Mills, director of the Samek Art Gallery, "Erik Neil of Tulane's Newcomb Gallery commissioned Weems to create the Louisiana Project to mark the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. That this stunning work will be exhibited at the Samek, by one of the significant artists of our time, is cause for celebration.
"At the same time, we must all be aware of the unfortunate circumstances of Hurricane Katrina and how the resulting flooding has impacted the city of New Orleans. This exhibition is an example of how current events may change the significance and context of our understanding of contemporary art," he said.
According to an ArtForum review, Weems is recognized internationally for making work that investigates American history in ways that make it current and relevant to today. Part image-maker, storyteller and folklorist, Weems employs performance, theater, photographic images, and humor to document and challenge perceptions of race, class and gender.
Weems draws inspiration from the city's Carnival rituals and the meanings of masking and masquerade. She makes us think about how the individual views the self as well as others, and raises pervasive questions of social justice, racial and sexual identity, and the legacy of slavery. While the focus of this stunning work is Louisiana, the cultural implications extend far beyond one state or one region.
Two lectures will be held in conjunction with the Bucknell exhibit:
Tuesday, Oct. 4: "Imaging Black Culture," with Deborah Willlis, professor of photography and imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, 7 p.m., Forum, Elaine Langone Center. This lecture is part of the 19th Annual Black Experiences Lecture series at Bucknell, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender. An internationally recognized scholar and photographer, Willis has written several articles about Weems, many of which may be found in the Bertrand Library collection at Bucknell.
Friday, Oct. 21: Erik Neil, director of the Newcomb Art Gallery and a native of New Orleans, will give a gallery talk at 5 p.m., Gallery Theatre, Elaine Langone Center. Neil will meet with Bucknell students earlier that day to discuss the Hurricane Katrina flood and its effect on New Orleans and the Newcomb Art Gallery.
Gallery hours are weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; weekends 1 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The Gallery is accessible by elevator. For more information about the gallery, call 577-3792 or see http://www.bucknell.edu/SamekArtGallery/
This exhibit is organized by the Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, and is touring under the auspices of Pamela Auchincloss/Arts Management, New York.
"A Distant View" 2003, iris print
"Untitled" 2003, ink on canvas