Untitled (Colored People Grid), 2009-10. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.
Untitled (Colored People Grid), 2009-10. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.

It’s been quite the year for Carrie Mae Weems. Not only does a major retrospective, “Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video,” arrive at New York’s Guggenheim Museum on January 24 (through May 14, 2014), following several stops across the country, but she has also begun work on her first feature film—about a woman who, much like herself, came of age in the ’60s. Plus, she was recently awarded a MacArthur “genius grant.” Still, Weems speaks of “the invisibility of black women” and of a cultural blind spot when it comes to older females. That fear of not being seen pervades her 2010 series “Slow Fade to Black,” in which she blurs publicity photographs of glamorous African-American performers, like Marian Anderson and Lena Horne—who, she says, “seem to be fading from our cultural memory.” The images will be included in the survey, along with such famous early works as her 1990 “Kitchen Table Series,” a photo-and-text narrative that blends personal and political themes while walking a line between conceptual and documentary photography. “Much of what I’m trying to do is to make humanity visible,” Weems says.