We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Untitled (playing harmonica)

printed 1999


Carrie Mae Weems

United States of America

1953 –

Alternate image of Untitled (playing harmonica) by Carrie Mae Weems
Alternate image of Untitled (playing harmonica) by Carrie Mae Weems
Alternate image of Untitled (playing harmonica) by Carrie Mae Weems
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    United States of America
    printed 1999
    Media category
    Materials used
    gelatin silver photograph
    5/5 [edition of 5 + 2APs]
    70.5 x 71.0 cm image (sight); 73.5 x 73.5 x 4.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed top c., verso, pen. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by The Russell Mills Foundation 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Carrie Mae Weems

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Carrie Mae Weems is both image-maker and storyteller. In her widely acclaimed Kitchen Table series, Weems shares an intimate narrative of domestic rituals and relationships. It is a series in which Weems plays the protagonist. She is a lover, a partner, a mother, a friend, a woman. In each image, she is seen at her lamp-lit kitchen table, often accompanied by a rotating cast of family and friends, and sometimes alone. It is here, in the most gendered space of the home, that we see Weems perform the moments of joy, doubt, desire, disorder, loss and courage that define the human bonds we create throughout a lifetime. In this image, we see Weems in tender reverie, listening to her partner play the harmonica, as the two dine together. A lobster sits untouched on her plate; her glass of wine remains full. He, on the other hand, has finished his meal – and several drinks. Yet she too appears sated. Across the kitchen table, a quiet moment of exchange and pleasure is occurring; they are sustaining each other.

    The Kitchen Table series is about being with (and in) oneself as much as it is about being with another. In Untitled (playing harmonica) Weems holds herself with a striking sense of composure and confidence; her face is bathed in bright light. This may appear to be an ordinary woman, but Weems grants her an intensity of spirit that verges on otherworldliness. Herein lies the work’s powerful statement about womanhood. Not only does Weems make visible the experience of women, particularly black women. She also makes this scene from everyday life into a moment of transcendence.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    United States of America

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition