HANDS ON: Carrie Mae Weems

The following activity ideas can be used to engage audiences in a hands-on approach to processing the ideas presented in the artist's film segment. They were compiled from our Educators' Guides and Screening Toolkits. Activities include not only visual art strategies but writing, research, and other disciplinary methods. Additional resources and strategies for teaching with films and working with contemporary art can be found in Teach.


"Untitled," from Kitchen Table Series, 1989–90. Set of 20 gelatin-silver prints, 28 1/4 x 28 1/4 inches each. © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Animate a series of found or borrowed images, to create a critique or comment on a current social issue.


SEGMENT: Carrie Mae Weems in "Compassion"

Photograph a reconstruction or reenactment of an important moment in your own personal or family history, using friends or classmates as models. Tell the story in a text that accompanies the work. How does reenacting the event change your understanding of that moment in your own history? How do personal histories or social histories affect the present?


"Ritual & Revolution," 1998. Installation view, P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York. © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Carrie Mae Weems states, when discussing the work, Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment: "What came out of these photographs is this idea of constructing history." Research a historical primary document that is important to you or your community—such as a speech from Harvey Milk, or a photograph from the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama—and create a visual response that reflects its legacy, or lack thereof, in the history of your community, city, state, or nation.


"The First Major Blow," 2008. Archival pigment print, 61 x 51 inches. © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.