Carrie Mae Weems lives and works in Syracuse, New York. She began her career in 1974, studying photography and design at City College of San Francisco. A year later she travelled to Europe, and upon her return in 1978 she became an assistant in Anthony Barboza’s studio and began to do in-depth research into Black artists and she was drawn to Roy DeCarava. From 1984 to 1987 she studied folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. Between 1993 and 1994 she moved to Paris, where she received her first major commission, from Weston Naef and the Getty Museum. Currently she is one of the best-known living artists on the North American scene, thanks to a complex corpus of work that includes photography, text, audio-visuals, digital images, performance, installations and video, among many other disciplines. She has participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, among other venues.

Weems’ work is represented in some of the world’s most important public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Tate Modern, London. Among the awards and scholarships she has received are the Prix de Rome and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, in 2013 she received a MacArthur Research Fellowship, and in September 2015, the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research awarded her the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal.