Carrie Mae Weems - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “Art allows us to navigate the more complicated parts of our lives in a way that is more palpable.”
    —Carrie Mae Weems


    Over the last 40 years, Carrie Mae Weems has used photography and her unique perspective to address themes of race, gender and the under-representation of African-American women in art. In doing so, she has become one of the most dynamic and influential artists working today. In her Ain’t Jokin’ series from 1987-1988, the first body of work in which she paired images with text, Weems juxtaposes portraits of Black men, women and children with racist jokes and phrases. In the present lot, she appropriates a slang term for a Caucasian girl, placing it below an image of a Black girl in boxing gloves. The work illustrates the stereotype of violence unfairly attributed to the Black community, while acknowledging the innate need to defend oneself – the inevitable conflict of being raised within a culture that treats Black children and white children so differently.

    • Provenance

      PPOW, New York

    • Literature

      Kirsh and Sterling, Carrie Mae Weems, pl. 10
      Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, pl. 2.5


White Patty You Don't Shine from Ain't Joking

Gelatin silver print with printed caption in lower margin.
14 1/2 x 14 3/8 in. (36.8 x 36.5 cm)
Sheet 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)

Signed, dated, and numbered 'AP' in pencil on the verso. One from an edition of 5 plus 2 artist's proofs.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023