Carrie Mae Weems Returns to ‘Kitchen Table Series,’ This Time with A$AP Rocky, for Bottega Veneta

Photographer Carrie Mae Weems has revisited one of her most famous series, this time as a Bottega Veneta ad campaign that stars the rapper A$AP Rocky.

The campaign, revealed this past Sunday to mark Father’s Day, is called “Portraits of Fatherhood.” In addition to still images, the campaign features a video in which the rapper plays with his children, Riot Rose and RZA Athelston. Also part of the campaign is one image in which Weems appears behind A$AP Rocky, who is seated before a mirror at a kitchen table.

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That latter image is a self-allusion to Weems’s most acclaimed picture, The Kitchen Table Series: Untitled (Man and Mirror), from 1990. In that work, Weems is shown seated at her own kitchen table, along with a man who bends down toward her. She stares back at the viewer, meeting their gaze.

“The Kitchen Table Series” also includes other shots in which Weems takes on other personae, posing as a mother, a daughter, and other less easily identifiable figures. The work dealt with selfhood in flux and the many roles Black women occupy, but these themes are not always immediately legible, and that is why the series has been viewed as a breakthrough by critics. As Weems herself once said, “I think [the series is] important in relationship to Black experience, but it’s not about race.”

Matthieu Blazy, creative director of Bottega Veneta, told GQ that he intended to broach similar ideas by commissioning Weems to create these new works.

“I am honored that she has brought her lens and vision to this project with Rocky, exploring fatherhood and what it means today,” Blazy said. “The images show the realness of Rocky as a father and as a man beyond the public figure. What strikes me first and foremost in the pictures is their intimacy.”

On Instagram, Weems wrote that she dedicated the Bottega Veneta commission to “all the fathers who dare to dream, to all the fathers who dare to love.”

The campaign arrived less than a week before a Weems show opens at Bard College’s Hessel Museum of Art in Upstate New York. That exhibition, set to open on June 22, will shine a light on some of the less widely-seen parts of Weems’s oeuvre, including recent shots of storefronts that were boarded up during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.


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