Carrie Mae Weems 'Slow Fade to Black' at Downstreet Art


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Award-winning photographer and artist Carrie Mae Weems brings her exhibition, "Slow Fade to Black" to DownStreet Art on Thursday, July 28. The show will run through Sept. 25. 

An opening reception will be held in the Legacy Gallery, 28 Holden St., 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, July 28. The event, which is part of DownStreet Art Thursdays, is free and open to the public.

Co-presented with the Williams College Museum of Art, Carrie Mae Weems' "Slow Fade to Black" comes to DownStreet Art through Down East Gallery, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center and the "Lift Every Voice Festival."

Weems' photographs, films and videos focus on issues that face African Americans today - such as racism, gender relations, politics and personal identity. Her work has been displayed in more than 50 exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad.

For this exhibition, Weems takes a critical look at the historical drama staging, presenting several interlocking narratives works that play across the historical divide. 

The project explores the slippery slope of memory as it considers the great debates of the 1960s amongst the likes of Marlon Brando, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, and the extraordinary females performers, dance and singers from Josephine Baker to Dorothy Dandridge Abbey Lincoln whose voices both entertained us and provided the backdrop to our very lives. 

The show will consist of two new video projections and rarely seem photographs from still photographs, paintings and video projections, with sound designed with the assistance of composer Gregory Wanamaker.

Weems was born in Portland, Ore., in 1953. She earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (1981), and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego (1984), continuing her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley (198487). She received honorary degrees from Colgate University, New York (2007) and California College of the Arts, Oakland (2001).

Her awards include the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); Skowhegan Medal for Photography (2007); Rome Prize Fellowship (2006); and the Pollack Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography (2002), among others.

Weems' work has appeared in major exhibitions at Savannah College of Art and Design (2008); W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University (2007); Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown (2000); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1998); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009). Weems' work is included in group exhibitions on view at the Museum of Modern Art New York, and the Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom. 

DownStreet Art Thursdays will take place on the last Thursdays of July, August and September, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will run till the Open Studio Weekend on Oct. 15-16. These events will feature music, performances, gallery openings and other downtown activities. 

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The program is made possible through leading sponsorship support provided by Berkshire Bank, The Clark Art Institute, Orbit Visual Graphic Design, Excelsior Printing, Jarvis W. Rockwell, Scarafoni Reality and Williams College Museum of Art.

The initiative was designed to revitalize downtown North Adams by identifying the city as a cultural haven. The program serves not only to increase MCLA's visibility, but also to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer. For more information about DownStreet Art and MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to and bcrc.