Carrie Mae Weems: “The Kitchen Table Series” | Art21 “Extended Play”

Carrie Mae Weems: “The Kitchen Table Series” | Art21 “Extended Play”


[Carrie Mae Weems: “The Kitchen Table Series”] About 1990, I think… I had been working away, living in this small town, and had been really thinking a lot about what it meant to… what it meant to sort of develop your own voice. And so, I made this body of work, “The Kitchen Table Series”. It started in a curious way as a kind of response to my own sense of what needed to happen– what needed to be. And what would not be simply a voice for African American women, but what would be a voice, more generally, for women. I made them all in my own kitchen– all in my own house– using a single light source, hanging over the kitchen table. It just sort of swung open, this door of possibility, of what I could actually do in my own environment, whenever I chose, and which ever way I wanted, at this very specific… or in this very particular place, spot, and moment in time. I love this series. This is actually a platinum series. I think these ideas about the spaces of domesticity that have historically belonged to women– and it is the site of the battle around the family, the battle around monogamy, the battle around polygamy, the battle between the sexes– it’s going to be played out, really, in that space. It’s this sort of, begging the question of, “How do we begin to alter the domestic space–” “the social living arrangement,” “the social contract–” “how does that get changed?” What I’m suggesting is that the sort of war that gets carried on– and I think it is a war– how do we manipulate and control one another and/or participate with one another to sort of share in those possibilities in those differences. The social dynamics that happens between men and women, that women hold the key to the bedroom, and the keys to the generations, while men, of course, hold the keys to power.

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