Resist COVID / Take 6!
“[This project] is meant to be a public service awareness campaign that in some small way helps to save lives…” — Carrie Mae Weems
Pairing evocative text with her own photographs, Weems launched the Resist COVID project in April 2020 to highlight how racial inequities have manifested in the pandemic. PSA formats from billboards to tote bags address the impact of the virus on Black, Brown and Native communities, while thanking essential workers and urging safety precautions (“Take 6” refers to social distancing). The campaign, which has appeared in major cities across the country, comes to the rural region of Bennington, North Adams and Williamstown via a consortium of arts and educational institutions: Usdan Gallery at Bennington College, the Bennington Museum, the Clark, MASS MoCA, MCLA, the Williams College Museum of Art, the 62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College, and the Town of Williamstown. Usdan Gallery activations include banners and posters on the Bennington College campus and in downtown Bennington, and reusable grocery bags distributed at Bennington area CSA farm stands and food shelves, in collaboration with CAPA food sustainability initiatives.
About Carrie Mae Weems:
Most celebrated as a photographer, Weems (born 1953, Portland, Oregon) has developed a complex body of work over more than four decades employing text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video. Activism is central to her practice, which investigates race, family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power. Weems has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frist Center for Visual Art, Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville, Spain. Her many awards include the MacArthur Fellowship (2013); Anonymous Was a Woman (2007); Skowhegan Medal for Photography (2007); Rome Prize Fellowship (2006); the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography (2002); as well as honorary degrees from Colgate University (2007) and California College of the Arts (2001). Weems lives and works in Syracuse, New York, where she debuted Resist Covid / Take 6! as part of an artist’s residency (2020-23) at Syracuse University.