KARA WALKER: Narratives of a Negress
When Walker's explosive black paper silhouettes began appearing in galleries in the early '90s, forcing stereotypical slavery-era iconography to represent graphically sexualized plantation violence and relentlessly destroyed innocence, it was clear that a new artistic vocabulary had been discovered and delivered full force. This collection of Walker's astonishing tableaux dramatizes black-white interactions via horrifically accurate imaginings of one-on-one encounters—encounters that, in their microcosms of exploitation and mutual dependency, seem to speak directly to current forms of black-white relations. The first three editors are at the college museums at Skidmore, Clark Art Institute and Williams respectively, and Reinhardt is a political scientist at Williams; they offer 122 illustrations (94 in color), a selection of Walker's texts (grave, faux naïve, sarcastic) and four essays, including one from Michele Wallace (Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman). The result is a terrific introduction to an extraordinary and still uncoiling large-scale project. (May)
FYI:Two recent releases available from D.A.P.— Kara Walker: Deutsche Bank Collection ($39.95 88p ISBN 3-935-29329-1) and Kara Walker: Pictures of Another Time (Univ. of Michigan Museum of Art [D.A.P., dist.], $29.95 104p ISBN 1-891024-50-7)—give further evidence of Walker's achievement.
Release date: 04/01/2003