Sikkema Jenkins and Co. is Compelled to present
The most Astounding and Important Painting show
of the fall Art Show viewing season!
Collectors of Fine Art will Flock to see the latest
Kara Walker offerings, and what is she offering
but the Finest Selection of artworks by an African-
American Living Woman Artist this side of the
Mississippi. Modest collectors will find her prices
reasonable, those of a heartier disposition will
recognize Bargains! Scholars will study and
debate the Historical Value and Intellectual Merits
of Miss Walker’s Diversionary Tactics.
Art Historians will wonder whether the work represents
a Departure or a Continuum. Students of
Color will eye her work suspiciously and exercise
their free right to Culturally Annihilate her on
social media. Parents will cover the eyes of
innocent children. School Teachers will reexamine
their art history curricula. Prestigious Academic
Societies will withdraw their support, former
husbands and former lovers will recoil in abject
terror. Critics will shake their heads in bemused
silence. Gallery Directors will wring their hands at
the sight of throngs of the gallery-curious flooding
the pavement outside. The Final President of the
United States will visibly wince. Empires will fall,
although which ones, only time will tell.
I don’t really feel the need to write a statement about a painting show. I know what you all expect from me and I have complied up to a point. But frankly I am tired, tired of standing up, being counted, tired of “having a voice” or worse “being a role model.” Tired, true, of being a featured member of my racial group and/or my gender niche. It’s too much, and I write this knowing full well that my right, my capacity to live in this Godforsaken country as a (proudly) raced and (urgently) gendered person is under threat by random groups of white (male) supremacist goons who flaunt a kind of patched together notion of race purity with flags and torches and impressive displays of perpetrator-as-victim sociopathy. I roll my eyes, fold my arms and wait. How many ways can a person say racism is the real bread and butter of our American mythology, and in how many ways will the racists among our countrymen act out their Turner Diaries race war fantasy combination Nazi Germany and Antebellum South – states which, incidentally, lost the wars they started, and always will, precisely because there is no way those white racisms can survive the earth without the rest of us types upholding humanity’s best, keeping the motor running on civilization, being good, and preserving nature and all the stuff worth working and living for?
Anyway, this is a show of works on paper and on linen, drawn and collaged using ink, blade, glue and oil stick. These works were created over the course of the Summer of 2017 (not including the title, which was crafted in May). It’s not exhaustive, activist or comprehensive in any way.
About the Artist
New York-based artist Kara Walker is best known for her candid investigation of race, gender, sexuality, and violence through silhouetted figures that have appeared in numerous exhibitions worldwide.
Born in Stockton, California in 1969, Walker was raised in Atlanta, Georgia from the age of 13. She studied at the Atlanta College of Art (BFA, 1991) and the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA, 1994). She is the recipient of many awards, notably the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award in 1997 and the United States Artists, Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship in 2008. In 2012, Walker became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work can be found in museums and public collections throughout the United States and Europe including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery, London; and the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI), Rome.
Walker will participate in Prospect New Orleans art triennial opening in November. Her contribution, a wagon-mounted steam calliope that will play a composition by jazz pianist Jason Moran, will be sited on Algiers Point where slaves entering New Orleans were held before transport across the river to be sold.
Walker currently lives and works in New York City and is the Tepper Chair in the Visual Arts at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.