Power 100

Most influential people in 2023 in the contemporary artworld


Carrie Mae Weems

Artist - Artist and thinker influencing younger generations

16 in 2023

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Photo: Audoin Desforges

The artworld’s growing attention to artists confronting structural violence and sexism towards people of colour feels almost unthinkable without the unwavering example of Carrie Mae Weems. Since the 1980s, the Oregonian artist’s multimedia approach – centred on photography both found and staged – has reflected racism back on itself, whether by redeploying historical images of enslaved Americans used to support theories of ethnic inferiority (From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995–96), building enveloping theatrical portraits of complex Black womanhood (the self-starring series The Kitchen Table, 1990) or addressing the disproportionate incarceration of Black men (Remember Me, 2019). Two sizeable current shows – her touring retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Basel and a showcase of recent work at LUMA Arles – speak respectively to Weems’s considerable achievements and, at seventy, her refusal to rest on her myriad laurels. This year, as part of the prestigious Hasselblad Award, she received a new camera; count on her using it.

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