Carrie Mae Weems — The Evidence of Things Not Seen

Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart
Until April 7, 2024

In her current show entitled “The Evidence of Things Not Seen” at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, North American artist Carrie Mae Weems (*1953) asks you to join her in exploring blind spots in (contemporary) history. For some 40 years she has been probing prevailing historical accounts of events and exposing the ways in which these are constructed and projected in politics, science, art, the mass media, photography, and architecture. By the purposeful tracking down of specific sites or by re-enacting select historical realities, she lays bare the narratives of marginalized groups, and thus, through her art, presents us with narratives as yet neglected by contemporary historiography. These gaps, to which the exhibition’s title alludes, emerge by way of dominant power structures, social segmentation in urban planning, or quite simply, through racism. The latter issue comprises the focus of Weems’ comprehensive photographic projects, videos, and installations. Yet she contrasts the long history of violence against people of color with the no less lengthy history of resistance and in doing so, analyzes both aspects with acute insight.
In 2014, Weems was the first black American artist to hold a retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Her work has long been well known beyond the art scene in the United States. High time, indeed, that this powerful, political oeuvre is also introduced to a broader public in Europe!