CARRIE MAE WEEMS
UNTITLED (FROM SEA ISLANDS SERIES)
a quadriptych of 3 gelatin silver prints and one screenprinted text panel, the photographs each flush-mounted, signed in ink on a printed label on the reverse, framed to the photographer's specifications, P. P. O. W., Inc., New York, gallery labels on the reverse, 1992, no. 9 in an edition of 10 (4)
Each photograph 19½ by 19½ in. (49.5 by 49.5 cm.)
Overall framed 40 by 60 in. (101.6 by 152.4 cm.)
Panel 1: When examined unframed, a very small loss to the tip of the lower right margin corner is visible. This is not visible when viewing the print framed and may have occurred prior to or as a result of mounting.
Panel 2: When examined unframed in raking light, there is a small raised area in the upper right corner, likely a particle trapped during the mounting process.
Panel 3: When examined unframed, there is very faint discoloration along the upper and left edges. This is not visible when viewing the print in its framed presentation.
Panel 4: The screenprinted text panel is on laid, cream-colored paper. In the upper left corner there is a one-inch faintly-discolored area.
The artist frames are in generally very good condition. There is some rubbing along the edges as well as some very small scratches that appear to have been retouched.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
P. P. O. W., Inc., New York
Sotheby's New York, 17 July 2003, Sale 1730, Lot 239
For her 1991-92 Sea Islands series, Carrie Mae Weems visited the scattered islands on the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina to examine the history, folklore, and circumstances of the Gullah-Geechee people and dialects, and their lasting impact on African American culture.
In the present work, Weems illustrates an old, out-of-use brick smokehouse, flanked by two views of an old slave quarters, one with an open window shutter, and the other which appears to have no shutter at all.
The fourth panel of this quadriptych is a text outlining the proper ways to cleanse a house and ward off unwanted spirits. The reader is advised that witches and hags will be repelled by a home that bears blue window-trimmings and is wallpapered with newsprint (the hag must read every word before it can bother you, and if the hag cannot read, ‘then there you go’). The layout of the text mirrors the framework of the house in Weems’ photographs.
Other works in this series include textual elements representative of the accompanying images’ subjects: a moon-shaped text eludes to the folktale of the moonlit drowning of the Ibo people, while a gravestone-shaped text comments on death rituals and communication with the spirit world.