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Not Manet's Type
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ebrowne's picture

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Not Manet’s Type tackles the issue of Black women having only two options of art historic representation.

Often placed in Box a) Black women can be represented as wild sex fiends or Box b) they can be represented not at all, Carrie Mae Weems adds another option to this sick joke of a choice which is Box c) Black women can represent themselves, thank you very much. 

This work depicts a self portrait of the lady herself half dressed or nude with captions such as “It was clear, I was not Manet’s type… Picasso—who had a way with women only used me & Duchamp never even considered me" and “But it could have been worse imagine me fate had de Kooning gotten hold of me.” By pointing fingers at heavy hitters like Manet, Picasso, Duchamp and de Kooning, Weems covers her bases of artistic movements - Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, and Modernism - that have blatantly ignored or abused the image of Black women and women in general. de Kooning at one point even claimed to be “cunt-crazy” so you can imagine the kind of hands the fate of the representation of women was in... But now finally Black women are getting a chance to represent themselves, which shouldn’t be ground-breaking, but nonetheless is ground-breaking.

The last image is of Weems lying naked (birthday suits) on her bed with the caption, “I took a tip from Frida, who from her bed painted incessantly - beautifully while Diego scaled the scaffolds to the top of the world.” Who better than the goddess that is Frida Kahlo to reference as inspiration for taking fate into your own hands and being your own muse? Seriously, who? I’ll wait.

Sources

Sources

  1. Saltz, Jerry. "Why De Kooning Matters". NYMag.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
  2. Willis, Deborah. "Carrie Mae Weems: A Look Back On Three Decades". Time.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
  3. "Carrie Mae Weems : Not Manet's Type, 1997". Carriemaeweems.net. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.