The African-American experience comes to vivid life in the photography of contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems. In her "Kitchen Table Series," for instance, she tells the story of a modern black woman, using images, text and herself as a model. Other series have looked at racism, Afro hairstyles, African-American women performers.
Born in 1953 in Oregon, Weems has been producing thoughtful, well-received bodies of work for decades. Now her first major museum retrospective is headed for Stanford's Cantor Arts Center on Oct. 16, after showings in Cleveland, Portland and Nashville. "Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video" will run through Jan. 5, featuring about 100 photos, installations and videos.
Other new exhibitions in the Cantor's upcoming season include "Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th-Century Art," with 75 works by Margaret Bourke-White, Salvador Dali, Man Ray and other American and European artists. It runs Nov. 13 through March 16.
The center is at Museum Drive and Lomita Way. Go to museum.stanford.edu or call 650-723-4177.
Over at the Palo Alto Art Center, books as instruments of creativity take center stage this fall. In "Bibliophilia," which opens Sept. 21, 15 artists focus on books: fashioning their own, or photographing libraries and other books, or transforming discarded tomes into altogether new works of art.
Presented together with the Fine Arts Gallery of San Francisco State University, the show includes works by Robert Dawson, Ala Ebtekar, Laurent de Brunhoff, Patricia Curtan and others. It will be up through Dec. 15 at 1313 Newell Road in Palo Alto.
Also planned this season at the art center: the annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, with pumpkins and other glass objects on exhibit Sept. 24 through 27 and on sale Sept. 28 and 29. 650-329-2366, cityofpaloalto.org/artcenter
This huge private Menlo Park collection of some 820 works of 20th-century American visual art offers free public tours on the third Thursday of the month (except in July, August, December and January). Reservations required. 650-854-5160, firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer History Museum
The museum's lecture series begins this fall with an Oct. 8 talk by Justin Rattner, who was Intel's chief technology officer as well as director of Intel Labs from 2006 until this year. Ongoing exhibits look at computers past and present, with artifacts that may inspire a spark of recognition. 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View. 650-810-1010, computerhistory.org
Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Dramatic moments in history as seen by the artists who witnessed them: That's the theme of the current exhibit "Art and History: Treasures from the Hoover Library and Archives." Works include sketches of life in the gulag by Thomas Sgovio and art journals from pre-revolutionary Russia. Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion, Stanford University. 650-723-3563, hoover.org
Los Altos History Museum
As part of its current exhibit, "A Place to Call Home: Two Centuries of California Living," which is up through Oct. 6, architect Jonathan Pearlman will give a free talk Sept. 22 on "The Evolution of the American Home." Before that, the museum's annual Train Days celebrate model railroading on Sept. 14 and 15. 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. 650-948-9427, losaltoshistory.org
Museum of American Heritage
TV is a mere tot in the new MOAH exhibit opening Sept. 27. "Television: A History" explores the tube in its early days, displaying sets from the 1940s and '50s and showing programs from the '50s and '60s. To complement all this: a collection of TV-show lunchboxes. The exhibit runs through March. 351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto. 650-321-1004, moah.org
Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo
Fifty-some species of animals make their home at this family zoo, along with science programs and shows including a performance by the Amazing Bubble Man on Sept. 15. 1451 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-329-2111, cityofpaloalto.org
Stanford University Libraries Special Collections
Green Library frequently hosts exhibits of rare books, manuscripts and other literary-themed artwork in the glass cases in the Peterson Gallery and the Munger Rotunda. Opening Sept. 23: "Art Meets Technology: Core Samples from Nine Archives," with items from the collections of Buckminster Fuller, Arthur H. Benade, Rich Gold and others. http://library.stanford.edu/spc