Kara Walker

On view at the Whitney Museum of American Art through Feb 2008, artist Kara Walker will be showing “My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love”. The artist explores racism in the American psyche through large-scale silhouettes that tell a story as they spread from one end of a room to the other. Walker has created a repertoire of narratives in which she conflates fact and fiction to uncover the roots of racial and gender bias. Her imagery is haunted by sexuality, violence, and subjugation while depicting historical narratives of injury caused by the legacy of slavery. She’s been featured in Art21 and was in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in The World, Artists and Entertainers in 2007.


~ by vainsmith on October 15, 2007.

One Response to “Kara Walker”

  1. “I felt the work of Kara Walker was sort of revolting and negative and a form of betrayal to the slaves, particularly women and children; that it was basically for the amusement and the investment of the white art establishment.”
    –Betye Saar, African American artist

    “What is troubling and complicates the matter is that Walker’s words in published interviews mock African Americans and Africans…She has said things such as ‘All black people in America want to be slaves a little bit.’…Walker consciously or unconsciously seems to be catering to the bestial fantasies about blacks created by white supremacy and racism.”
    –Howardena Pindell, African American artist, at the Johannesburg Biennale, October 1997.

    All black people in America want to be slaves a little bit.
    –Kara Walker, as quoted by Jerry Saltz in a 1996 FlashArt piece

    Her blacks don’t resist aggression, or at least not in obvious ways. They seem to give in to it, let themselves be abjectly used, often by one another.
    –2003 NYT article by Holland Carter

    Kara Walker is not presenting a heightened reality of American slavery. Blackness is a concept that Kara Walker objectively debases. These images are visualizations of what Toni Morrison describes as the white subconscious Playing in the Dark. As such, they are a reflection of the psychosis of white supremacy. However, it is not a full critique of this mindset and may in fact justify this mindset. It is my opinion that she rationalizes and projects in her work, the psychosis of the white male mindset, without the guilt, in fact with total acceptence.

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