CalArts alum Carrie Mae Weems (Art BFA 81) was named the recipient of the 2023 Hasselbad Award, the annual international photography prize described as the Nobel Prize of photography. Weems was selected by the Hasselblad Foundation from a short list of candidates, handpicked for their major achievements in photography.
In its press release, the Foundation noted that Weems was chosen for her “decades of work capturing the struggle for equality and painful history that African Americans have experienced, all under the undeniably captivating power of her photography.” She becomes the first Black woman to win the prize, joining other noted artists and photographers, including Ansel Adams (1981), Cindy Sherman (1994), and Hiroshi Sugimoto (2001).
Weems will receive her award, which includes a gold medal, diploma, and 2 million in Swedish krona on Oct. 13, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Her work will also be shown during the award festivities. With the start of a long-term collaboration between the artist and Hasselblad, a Gothenburg-based camera company, Weems will also receive their latest medium-format camera and lenses.
The acclaimed multimedia artist has shown work in museums and galleries around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frist Center for Visual Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville, Spain. A 1996 Herb Alpert Award winner, Weems was awarded a MacArthur fellowship in 2013. In 2014, she became the first African American woman to exhibit a retrospective in the Guggenheim Museum.