Kara Walker in NYC

Kara Walker in NYC

By Black Woman at http://askthisblackwoman.com/ 

I’m obsessed with race and I’m obsessed with Kara Walker because not only is she obsessed with race but the art she creates portrays the history of race in this country in a way that thrills me.  Her art actually makes me salivate.  It’s stark, beautiful, angry, ironic, painful, compelling, and completely controversial.

The NYTimes wrote a piece about Walker.  Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

—"With its mock-antique form and Old South flavor, the piece had the airy, Valentine’s Day prettiness of a romantic ballet. But this was no love story. It was a danse infernal of sex, slavery and chitlin-circuit comedy. Moms Mabley and the Marquis de Sade were the choreographers. Margaret Mitchell did sets. Flannery O’Connor cued the lights."

—"Nearby a child strangles a duck and offers it to a woman whose body doubles as a boat. A second woman lifts a leg and two infants drop to the ground as if she’s defecating babies. Seen in profile, she has caricatured Negroid features, as does a man who floats in the sky above her, buoyed by balloonlike genitals. In the center of the picture, a prepubescent black girl fellates a white boy, possibly a slave-master’s son. Nearby the master is caught in a slapstick coupling with a black woman who spits out her corncob pipe in surprise."

Wow.

Many believe Kara Walker’s work utilizes stereotypical and insulting images of Black people.  Some African-American artists condemned her work and one even launched a boycott against her.  The criticism of her work unfairly includes her marriage to a white man.  I do not believe her art to be stereotypical or insulting; just a raw interpretation of race relations in the US

What I’d like to see from Kara Walker next is her depictions of modern black/white relations.

“Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love” runs through Feb. 3 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue, at 75th Street; (212) 570-3600, whitney.org.

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