Bulger's Beat: Frist exhibit gives viewers much to ponder - WSMV News 4

Bulger's Beat: Frist exhibit gives viewers much to ponder

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A thought-provoking photography exhibit opens Friday at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and it is already receiving national attention.

The exhibit is the life work of Carrie Mae Weems, and art critics credit the Frist staff for making the exhibit happen.

Weems' life changed forever at the age of 20 when her boyfriend gave her a camera. The pictures she would then take turned heads.

"She is regarded as one of the most important photographers of our time and is included in many shows across the country and around the world," said Frist Center Curator Katie Delmez. "She realized what an effective tool this camera would be to visually articulate and communicate with other people some of the ideas and thoughts that she had."

The images address daily issues facing African-Americans - racism, gender, politics and family. And her simple-looking snapshots are designed to provoke thought for mothers and daughters, husbands and wives on the complexity of relationships.

"This is tough and contemplative. Viewers need to be in a frame of mind where they're willing to be challenged," Delmez said.

For Delmez, bringing these photos to Nashville is a personal home run. Years ago, she focused her college thesis on Weems' work and now helped create this exhibit that will tour the country.

"It's still a dream. She's still a rock star in my world," Delmez said. "At this point I feel like we're soul mates. My name is Katie, and everyone is now calling me Katie Mae. It feels like our lives are very much intertwined at this point."

The serious photos provide food for thought, and in some cases, soul food.

"We'll all come out with a more complete picture of our community, humanity as a whole and, hopefully, a little more compassion," Delmez said.

The exhibit - Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video - is at the Frist through Jan. 13 before beginning a tour of the country.

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