“The silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that’s also what the stereotype does” - Kara Walker
This week the Brooklyn Museum Library is highlighting works in our collection by and about the artist Kara Walker to coincide with the recent installation of a sculpture by her at the Museum. The sculpture – “African Boy Attendant Curio (Bananas)” – was recently exhibited in the art installation entitled “A Subtlety” located in Brooklyn’s cavernous, defunct Domino Sugar factory. The massive public art project was organized by Creative Time, headed by incoming Brooklyn Museum Director Anne Pasternak.
Walker’s more delicate work in the medium of cut silhouettes combines as many contradictions as the monumental, yet temporary, Domino installation.
Working with silhouettes in a variety of materials, Walker injects an unexpected complexity into this seemingly simple medium. Many of Walker’s figures display the elaborate costumes and hair pieces of aristocrats in the antebellum period – but a closer look reveals more unsettling elements – themes of race, sexuality and violence appear unexpectedly in the shadows.
In the collection of the bkmlibrary the artist book Five poems by Toni Morrison is illustrated with silhouettes by Kara Walker that are almost whimsical – but look closer and they are perhaps not what they seem.
Seeing the unspeakable: the art of Kara Walker; Kara Walker : after the deluge and Kara Walker : my complement, my enemy, my oppressor, my love all showcase exhibits and works by Walker that use the precise and delicate imagery of the silhouette, as well as vivid collages, to display sometimes disturbing scenes of life in both the old South and in our own time. The bkmlibrary owns much more by and about Kara Walker - just take a look!
Posted by Roberta Munoz