Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress

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“This collection of Walker's astonishing tableaux dramatizes black-white interactions via horrifically accurate imaginings of one-on-one encounters–encounters that, in their microcosms of exploitation and mutual dependency, seem to speak directly to current forms of black-white relations.” –Publishers Weekly

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About the Author:

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California. She received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. In 1997, she received the MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney. She is currently on the faculty of the MFA program at Columbia University.

From Booklist:

Artist Walker's large-scale installations of black paper cutouts, silhouettes that from a distance look like lively, theatrical scenes from the antebellum era but which upon closer examination prove to be sharp-edged, sexually graphic, and disturbing parodies, have elicited both high praise and vehement condemnation. This well-designed and illuminating book is the first to grapple with Walker's audacious and shrewdly provocative inquiries into the sexual and racial stereotypes that arose from the Deep South's culture of oppression and hypocrisy, terror and hate, and that continue to poison lives today. Critical essays discuss Walker's rich visual lexicon and subversive humor, her use of silhouettes to strongly contrast black and white and conceal detail, thus reducing individuals to the roles racism forced on them. Walker's fascination with colonial fantasies, pulp romance, and slave narratives is thoroughly analyzed, as are her writings, a crucial aspect of her bold investigations into racial caricatures. Walker gives new meaning to the term body politic as she cajoles viewers into confronting painful questions of power, sex, and race. Donna Seaman
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