Fact Sheet: Carrie Mae Weems: Looking Forward, Looking Back” 


Carrie Mae Weems: Looking Forward, Looking Back”  
Sept. 22–July 7, 2024  


Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and G Streets. N.W.  


This focused exhibition pairs two projects in which Weems invites others to step back in time. “Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me–A Story in 5 Parts” (2012) is a multimedia installation that transforms the gallery into a 19th-century illusionistic theater. This complex work brings to life episodes from the American Civil War to the present, accompanied by a soundtrack that evokes the constitutional promise of equality, along with projections of recurring racial and gender difference that make achieving it so elusive. It is accompanied by eight photographs from her series “Constructing History” (2008). Weems worked with college students to restage iconic photographs from World War II to the civil rights era and beyond. All the artworks were recently acquired by the museum; the installation is the only major video work by the artist in a public collection in the Washington, D.C., region. 

The exhibition is organized by Saisha Grayson, curator of time-based media, and John Jacob, the McEvoy Family Curator for Photography. 

Virtual Artist Conversation 

Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 ET; registration required


“Carrie Mae Weems: Looking Forward, Looking Back” received federal support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. 

Note to editors: Selected high-resolution images for publicity only are available through the museum’s Dropbox account. Email americanartpressoffice@si.edu to request the link.   

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the flagship museum in the United States for American art and craft. It is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. The museum’s main building, located at Eighth and G streets N.W., is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum’s Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check online for current hours and admission information. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.

Press Images

Installation image of a black room. There is a red curtain in the background and a red, velvet rope in the foreground. In between them is a blue, holographic image of a figure.
Exhibitions- Carrie Mae Weems, "Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me"

Carrie Mae Weems, Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me—A Story in 5 Parts, 2012, video installation (color, sound) and mixed media, 18:29 min. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase. Photo courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, NY