New Orleans

Carrie Mae Weems

Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University

When Newcomb College at Tulane University commissioned Carrie Mae Weems to create new work commemorating the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, she made several sets of photographs, a video projection, and sets of video stills in which she juxtaposed sites of slavery and antebellum pomp with the industrial locales of the “New South.” In the photos, Weems herself appears in period costume; for the videos, she shot footage of a Mardi Gras ball off the TV and integrated it into her own imagery of contemporary and Civil War–era maids, mistresses, and masters in shadowy silhouette. Both photos and video evince a fascination with architecture and the way it anchors history. Though the work here is black and white, the content spans the moral spectrum.

Photographed busts of ambitious Napoléon and canny Thomas Jefferson hung inside oval-shape period frames at the entrance to the exhibition.

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