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Carrie Mae Weems: Coming Up For Air

Carrie Mae Weems: Coming Up For Air

Coming Up for Air by Carrie Mae Weems

Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA is thrilled to present a theatrical screening of Carrie Mae Weems’s exceptional, feature-length video Coming Up For Air, accompanied by Afro-Chic. Created between 2003 and 2005, Coming Up For Air marks Weems’s first major foray into video and weaves together a series of visually striking, dramatic vignettes depicting gamily, archival footage, quarrelling sisters, and the relationship between black men and white women in Antebellum New Orleans.

Weems has identified the “human condition” as central to her work, and Coming Up For Air is a tremendous investigation of relationships, intimacy and affect. Eliding straightforward narrative, the video elaborates upon the investigations of race, gender, politics, and power evident in her earlier photographic series.

Carrie Mae Weems is an acclaimed contemporary artist whose works in photography, video and installation use storytelling to express the human condition. Over the course of the past thirty years she has produced bodies of work including Colored People (1989-1990), the Kitchen Table Series (1990), The Louisiana Project (2003), and Slow Fade to Black (2010). She earned her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work was the subject of the 2007 solo exhibition All About Eve: Women, Sex, and Desire at the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and the 2013 retrospective Carrie Mae Weems Three Decades of Photography and Video curated by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. In 2013 she received a Macarthur Foundation Fellowship and in 2016 she received a Distinguished Feminist Award from the College Art Association.

“. . . Weems positions herself as history’s ghost….” —Nancy Princethal, Art In America

“. . . one of the most honored American artists of her generation. Weems asks inconvenient questions and comes up with unwelcome answers. For that alone, no contemporary artist’s work is more important.” —David Bonetti, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Afro Chic Film Stills MG8094

Afro-Chic by Carrie Mae Weems


2009-2010, Digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes

 A fashion show set to Marvin Gaye’s “Sanctified Lady.”

coming up for airstill

Coming Up for Air by Carrie Mae Weems

Coming Up for Air

2003-05, Digital video, color, sound, 52.5 minutes 

Carrie Mae Weems, Pamela Vander Zwan (Assistant Producer)

Carrie Mae Weems’s first major video work, Coming Up for Air (2003–04), features a series of richly crafted vignettes. Visually sumptuous and diverse in their subject matter, the scenes demonstrate Weems’s use of dramatic cinematic techniques, evidencing the influence of Federico Fellini and Chris Marker, to extend the vocabulary of her photographs. Amongst the video’s other segments are depictions of young lovers and a young girl and her father.