Kara Walker - AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN New York Friday, February 8, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1969, Stockton, CA
    Lives and works in New York, NY

    1994 MFA, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
    1991 BFA, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA

    Selected honors: American Academy of Arts and Letters (2012); Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship (2008); MacArthur Fellowship (1997)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Camden Arts Centre, London; Art Institute of Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Tate Liverpool
    Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX; the Tate Collection, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI), Rome; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

    One of the youngest artists to be awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” fellowship, Kara Walker became known in the mid-1990s for her instantly recognizable panoramic black silhouetted figure cuttings. For the past two decades, Walker has continued her candid investigations of race, gender, sexuality, and violence in such diverse media as gouache, watercolor, video animation, “magic-lantern” projections, sculptures and large-scale installations.

    “I didn’t want a completely passive viewer,” Walker has said. “I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.” Walker, who considers her work as an antidote to politeness, unapologetically confronts America’s troubled history by provocatively incorporating visual stereotypes from the era of slavery. Subverting the silhouette portrait tradition, Walker creates nightmarish worlds that reveal the brutality of racism and inequality at the fundament of America’s past, but also exposes contemporary issues such as the white supremacist movement or gun culture. “Walker’s vision, here and elsewhere, is of history as trompe-l’oeil,” Hilton Als wrote in The New Yorker. “Things are not what they seem, because America is, literally, incredible, fantastic—a freak show that is almost impossible to watch, let alone to understand. In Walker’s work, slavery is a nightmare from which no American has yet awakened.”

    In 2007, Walker was named one of the top 100 influential persons by Time Magazine. As Barbara Kruger summed up Walker’s influential vision on that occasion: “Few [artists] have managed to capture the collision between past and present, between histories and horror stories, between sexuality and shame, between skin and meat, as powerfully and provocatively as Kara Walker, 37. Walker's vigilance has produced a compelling reckoning with the twisted trajectories of race in America. Her installations and films forcefully pluralize our notion of a singular 'history.'… She raucously engages both the broad sweep of the big picture and the eloquence of the telling detail. She plays with stereotypes, turning them upside down, spread-eagle and inside out. She revels in cruelty and laughter. Platitudes sicken her. She is brave. Her silhouettes throw themselves against the wall and don't blink.”

  • Artist Biography

    Kara Walker

    American • 1969

    Kara Walker sugarcoats nothing. Her masterpiece public art commission, A Subtlety, 2014, was a 35-foot high racial confrontation of artifact, mythology and American history in the form of a sphinx packed from 80-tonnes of Domino white sugar crystals. Walker's practice first caught audiences with her haunting paper cutout silhouettes retelling the injustices of slavery and the foundations of American capitalist culture.

    Walker's immense talent matched by her cunning commentary has made her one of the most important contemporary artists today, having enjoyed major exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York in addition to permanent placements within the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Art Institute Chicago. Her auction market is strong for a mid-career artist, with works reaching more than $300,000.

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The Marvelous Sugar Baby Production Model in Bronze

10 1/2 x 7 x 21 3/4 in. (26.7 x 17.8 x 55.2 cm.)
Executed in 2015, this work is from an edition of 10.

Estimate On Request


New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019