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Since meeting at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1977, Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems have been intellectual colleagues and companions. From the outset of their careers, both have operated from a deep social commitment to participate in, describe and define culture. In seeking to express themselves fully, each has expanded possibilities within photography and video to address their chosen subjects.
“Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue,” on view April 4 through July 9, brings together for the first time a focused selection of work from a period of over 40 years by two of today’s most important and influential photo-based artists. Each grapples with issues of race, class and representation in their work, making art grounded in the experiences and realities of Black Americans while also speaking to the broader human condition.
“The Museum’s Department of Photographs has made great strides in recent years in building an exhibitions program that highlights more expansive narratives of photographic history,” said Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems are two artists who reframe American traumas that have been ignored or simplified in the national historical record. We are proud to showcase their work in dialogue with one another.”
“These artists are two of the most dynamic and insightful of our time,” said Jim Ganz, senior curator of photographs. “As presented in this extraordinary exhibition, their eloquent dialogue gives unique perspective on their shared concerns as image makers.”
In conjunction with the exhibition Getty has created a community program inspired by the exhibition, that brings “Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue” to a wider Los Angeles community, furthering the influence of the two artists and introducing their work to a new generation of artists and viewers. This artist-led program will host educational workshops for local teens and young adult photographers and will teach participants techniques in black-and-white photography and the artistic practice of capturing portraiture and place.
Related programming includes “Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems in Conversation” on Tuesday, April 4 at 4 p.m. That evening at 7 p.m, the Museum will present master saxophonist David Murray in concert with his newly formed quartet as part of the exhibition programming. Information can be found at getty.edu. The Getty Museum is located at 1200 Getty Center Dr.
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