Skip to Content

The museum is temporarily closed. Learn more.

Black and tanned your whipped wind of change howled low blowing itself-ha-smack into the middle of Ellington's orchestra Billie heard it too and cried strange fruit tears

Red and black colored photograph of an African American man with several scars on his back, the title etched in glass on top of the image.

Image actions

  • Red and black colored photograph of an African American man with several scars on his back, the title etched in glass on top of the image.

Date:

1995

Artist:

Carrie Mae Weems
American, born 1953

About this artwork

Carrie Mae Weems pairs photography and text to make incisive comments on race, gender, and the politics of representation. This photograph is part of a project that responds to 19th-century photographic representations of African Americans. For the series, Weems overlaid appropriated photographs of Africans and African Americans with etched texts that lament physical and symbolic violence to the black body throughout history. This photograph’s 1863 source image, depicting an escaped slave named Gordon, was titled The Scourged Back and widely circulated by abolitionists as antislavery propaganda. The text folds the history of subjugation under slavery onto the history of jazz, nodding to Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, and the latter’s song “Strange Fruit,” a haunting requiem to victims of lynching in the American South.

Currently Off View

Photography and Media

Artist

Carrie Mae Weems

Title

Black and tanned your whipped wind of change howled low blowing itself-ha-smack into the middle of Ellington's orchestra Billie heard it too and cried strange fruit tears

Origin

United States

Date

Made 1995

Medium

Chromogenic print and sandblasted glass

Inscriptions

Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, on backing board, upper right, in graphite: "1/10"

Dimensions

45.7 cm (image, diameter, sight); 59.7 × 49.4 cm (window mat)

Credit Line

Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund

Reference Number

1996.424

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share