Artists Carrie Mae Weems and LaToya Ruby Frazier discuss creating art in 2017.
by Mattie Kahn, ELLE
Jan 11, 2017
Hosted by Rebecca Carroll, WNYC producer for special projects on race, photographers LaToya Ruby Frazier and Carrie Mae Weems; and Harvard University art history professor Sarah Lewis, engage in a discussion on celebrating and advancing visual literacy around race, and what it feels like to be American and black during this dichotomous time of triumph and tragedy.
Like Weems, fellow MacArthur “Genius” Award winner LaToya Ruby Frazier has devoted her career to explorations of power and oppression. And she isn’t prepared to accept a post-election imperative that puts the onus on people of color to reach out to racists and bigots. “[We’re] always being asked to forgive, always being told to be silent, always being told…to try to empathize with our oppressors and the people that have murdered us for centuries,” she said. “It’s enough.” She wants, she said, to save her energies for the work that matters, to keep her focus on the most marginalized Americans—on poor people, minorities, women.
Carroll stressed that this commitment to seek justice in art isn’t new. Art offers, she wrote in a follow-up email, “an inimitable, one-time only, capsule piece of nonfiction.” We have to keep looking for new ways to create these capsules, Lewis insisted, and to look for ways to progress.