Kara Walker - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Brent Sikkema, New York

  • Exhibited

    Portland, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Habit Forming: Contemporary Art from Portland Collections, April 23 - May 30, 2007 ; Portland, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College, Working History, African American Objects, January 22 - March 2, 2008

  • Literature

    B. Libby, “A Look Inside the Collecting Trove,” The Oregonian, April 29, 2007 (Illustrated); J. Bromer, “Habit Forming at PNCA,” PortlandArt.net (online content), May 14, 2007 (illustrated); C. Raymond, “You Need Art,” Portland Monthly, March 2008 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Internationally acclaimed artist Kara Walker revived the traditionally female craft form of silhouette cutting creating shadow dramas which with nuance and dark humor deal with complex and uncomfortable issues of race, taboo, pride, decency, power and identity. Walker was drawn to the use of the silhouette for its reductive quality—a silhouette reduces a rendering to two dimensions just as a racial stereotype is a reduction of an actual human being. Another aspect that appealed to her was that the silhouettes render everyone the color black. The silhouette also has a connotation of gentility to it, which serves to point out the historical hypocrisy of this country’s legacy of race relations, and adds to the irony in her powerful imagery.
    "Well, a lot of the time every image is one lie or bad joke—on the surface— rather than an immediate truth. I guess the “truth” of an image or situation within a whole piece, occurs when the viewer is enticed to fill in the blank spaces. She is faced with the discomfort of realizing just how many bizarre and sometimes violent fantasies already occupy her mind, " (Kara Walker in H. Olbrist, Kara Walker: Safety Curtain 1, Vienna, 2002, p. 12).

  • 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 Humane Acquisition of Chitlins

1994 -1995

Paper cut-out mounted to paper.

72 1/4 x 52 1/4 in. (183.5 x 132.7 cm).

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $86,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 Nov 2009
New York