Past Tense

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

By Carrie Mae Weems
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reception at 7 pm; Performance at 8 pm

Artist: Carrie Mae Weems
Singers: Eisa Davis, Alicia Hall Moran, Imani Uzuri
Musicians: Hamiet Bluiett, Graham Haynes, Yayoi Ikawa, and Juliette Jones


The Bridge by Eisa Davis, Jill Scott, Angie Stone
Life Excerpt by Craig Harris
Remember Me by Imani Uzuri
My Man’s Gone Now by George & Ira Gershwin
Ode to Life by Don Pullen

There are only a few great stories in the world and they are repeated again and again.
– Carrie Mae Weems

As Billie Holiday sings:
The same ole story, but it’s new to me….

Acclaimed artist Carrie Mae Weems, deemed “one of the more interesting artists working in the gap between art and politics” by the New York Times, has created a new performance-based work, Past Tense, for the opening night of Antigone Now. Through music, text, projection, and video, this new performance lecture features singers Eisa Davis, Alicia Hall Moran, and Imani Uzuri, and musicians Hamiet Bluiett, Graham Haynes, Yayoi Ikawa, and Juliette Jones. The performance takes us on a deep dive into the enduring significance of the iconic Antigone and her profound relevance to our contemporary moment.

Past Tense’s origins lie in Weems’ powerful work Grace Notes. Weems says, “While working on Grace Notes for months it occurred to me that I was telling the story of Antigone, wherein an innocent man dies by unjustified means and his sister fights for the right to bury him honorably. But the wider community refuses her; her right to justice, and to peace, is denied.”