‘Grace Notes,’ a new work by Carrie Mae Weems, to be performed on campus

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From "Grace Notes: Reflections for Now." © William Struhs 2016

Acclaimed photographer and video artist Carrie Mae Weems will present her new work “Grace Notes: Reflections for Now” in early September on campus. The performance examines themes of social justice, race, and identity in the context of our historical moment.

“Grace Notes” is rooted in poetry and Weems’ photographic and video projections, and features music, song, and spoken word. The work was originally conceived as a response to President Obama’s singing of “Amazing Grace” during his eulogy for Emanuel AME Church victim Reverend Clementa Pinckney. The work brings together a cast of artists from different disciplines, among them composer/musician Craig Harris, composer James Newton, poet Aja Monet, writer and theater artist Carl Hancock Rux, dancer Francesca Harper, and singers Alicia Hall Moran, Imana Uzuri, and Eisa Davis.

Weems, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, explores questions about the meaning of grace and its role in the pursuit of democracy in the work, which is linked to this time of civic unrest, escalating violence, and the political rise of Donald Trump. Weems has spent her lifetime examining such issues as racism, gender relations, politics, and personal identity. She is the first African American woman to have a major career retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York in 2014.

There will be two two performances only, on Sept. 9 and on Sept. 10. Both are at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre, 222 York St. The show runs 1 hour and 20 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $50; $35 for Yale employees and $25 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.yalerep.org or by phone at 203-432-1234.

“Grace Notes” is co-sponsored by the Office of the President; Andrew Carnduff Ritchie Fund; Yale Center for British Art; Yale University Art Gallery; Yale Repertory Theatre/No Boundaries; Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration; Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library; Yale Institute of Sacred Music; Afro-American Cultural Center; Alumni Diversity and Inclusion Task Force; Department of African American Studies; Department of History of Art; Initiative for Race, Gender, and Globalization; Intercultural Affairs Council; Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale; Office of the Associate Dean for the Arts in Yale College; Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life; Yale Alumni Arts League; Yale Black Alumni Association; Yale Chaplain’s Office; Yale College Dean’s Office; Yale Divinity School; and Yale School of Music.

“Grace Notes: Reflections for Now” was commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA, curated by Sarah Lewis, and premiered at the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre in June 2016.

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