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
- Carrie Mae Weems
- 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
- United States
- Chromogenic print and sandblasted glass
- Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, on backing board, upper right, in graphite: "1/10"
- 45.7 cm (image, diameter, sight); 59.7 × 49.4 cm (window mat)
- Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund