Visionary Photographer Carrie Mae Weems to Speak at School of Visual Arts 2016 Commencement Exercises

March 23, 2016

School of Visual Arts is thrilled to announce that visionary photographer and MacArthur Fellow Carrie Mae Weems has accepted the College’s invitation to speak at this year’s commencement exercises. weems200The ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate degree candidates will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 10:00am at Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. The events are ticketed and open to candidates and invited guests only; they will be streamed live at

Carrie Mae Weems has spent the last three decades using her lens to reveal universal experiences that unite us. Weems’ complex body of work includes documentary and autobiographical style photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video that transcends race, class and gender to reflect the depths of humanity. Using her gaze to investigate polarizing systems, relationships and power structures, Weems is committed to gaining and offering a better understanding of the present by closely examining the past. She is a faculty member in SVA’s MFA Art Practice program.

Weems has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and international museums including the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York. Most recently her work was on view at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London.

Weems has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships including the prestigious Prix de Roma, The National Endowment of the Arts, the Alpert, The BET Honors Visual Artist award, the Lucie Award for Fine Art photography, and the International Center of Photography Spotlights Award, the Anonymous was a Woman and the Tiffany Awards. In 2012, Weems was presented with one of the first US Department of State’s Medals of Arts in recognition for her commitment to the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. In 2013 Weems was not only the recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” grant, but she also received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, NY and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Weems has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2008.

Carrie Mae Weems will join a distinguished group of leaders in the arts, humanities and public service who have spoken at SVA’s commencement exercises in past years, including United States Congressman John Lewis, cultural critic Greil Marcus, multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, playwrights Edward Albee and Tony Kushner, historian Robert A. Caro, Governor Mario Cuomo, biologist Dr. Gerald Edelman, opera singer Ronan Tynan and actor B.D. Wong as well as New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof and Frank Rich.

SVA President David Rhodes will confer BFA, MA, MAT, MFA and MPS degrees on more than 1,100 degree candidates in SVA’s 2016 graduation class at the commencement exercises.

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