American artist Carrie Mae Weems’s defining work, Kitchen Table Series, consists of portraits of herself interacting with others around the eponymous piece of household furniture. The prolific contemporary artist is best known for her exploration of relationships and the human condition across many mediums including text, fabric, audio, digital images, and video.
In her 1990 series, Weems explored what she once called “the battle around the family … monogamy … and between the sexes,” anchored by the table and hanging lamp.
The photos are set side by side and accompanied by their textual partners for the first time in Carrie Mae Weems: Kitchen Table Series, out April 26 from Damiani/Matsumoto. In them, her characters smoke, teach, and embrace, acting out daily domestic life under the camera’s lens. Click ahead to see the makeup, the kisses, and the cigarettes.