The acclaimed artist Carrie Mae Weems, as part of her participation in the Aspen Art Museum’s Aspen Times Artist Takeover series, will present four works from her new art initiative “RESIST COVID/TAKE 6!” in this newspaper.
The project aims to draw attention to the ways in which the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color.
The four-week series will run in the Aspen Times from July 17 through Aug. 7. The first of them is in today’s paper on page B3.
This collaboration will culminate in a virtual event with Weems on the museum’s weekly Instagram Live program “Slow. Look. Live.” on Aug. 7.
Weems launched the initiative in June with a street art project in Syracuse, New York, where she is artist-in-residence at Syracuse University. Printed on posters, billboards, flyers, and other public-facing platforms, the photo-based campaign seeks to heighten public awareness of the impact of social and economic disparity while also paying homage to the essential workers who have placed themselves in harm’s way during the pandemic. The Aspen pieces will use Weems photos and text (in both English and Spanish) to call urgent attention to the issues.
“We’ve all been impacted by COVID-19,” Weems said in announcing the project. “It’s an ecological health crisis of epic proportion — an international disaster. And yet we have indisputable evidence that people of color have been disproportionately impacted. The death tolls in these communities are staggering. This fact affords the nation an unprecedented opportunity to address the impact of social and economic inequality in real time. Denial does not solve a problem.”
Representative of her larger “RESIST COVID/TAKE 6!” project, Weems’s contribution to the museum’s Aspen Times series aims to be impactful in both its immediate messaging and in prompting a broader dialog about the virus and the long-term state of those communities for whom it has taken the most severe toll. Of the initiative, Weems has stated that she “(hopes) to build awareness by asking questions, by providing the simple facts of our extraordinary realities, and embedding them inside powerful imagery.”
Weems is among the most renowned and influential American artists of the past 30 years. She has been honored with a MacArthur grant and the U.S. State Department’s Medal of Arts, and uses multiple mediums — photography, text, film and video among them — to dissect family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems and power.