Kara Walker entered the annals of art history in the mid-1990s with works that turned the genteel eighteenth-century genre of the cut-paper silhouette on its head, shaping the forms into disquieting panoramic friezes. She creates intense, immersive environments in which starkly depicted figures—usually black forms against a white wall—engage in eroticized, racially charged violence. Her huge tableaus of perverse vignettes address the history of American slavery and the persistent, residual racism of today.
Walker began producing films and videos in 2004, propelling her wall-based works into new dimensions of time and motion. In her videos, the narratives suggested by her stationary silhouettes play out to their full, unsettling potential, illustrating historical traumas not experienced, but transmitted to later generations through stories and images. In the four works presented in this exhibition, Walker takes advantage of our distance from the antebellum era, filling the screen with fantastical yet historically inspired re-imaginings of the past.
The Fact of Fiction: Four Works by Kara Walker is organized by Kanitra Fletcher and Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.
Works in this exhibition contain strong imagery and content that may not be suitable for all viewers.
Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions
September 25 – October 3
8 Possible Beginning or: The Creation of African-America, a Moving Picture
October 6 – October 10
…calling to me from the angry surface of some grey and threatening sea
October 13 – October 17
Falling Frum Grace, Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale
October 20 – October 23
Kara Walker (b. Stockton, California, 1969) received her BFA from Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. Her solo exhibitions have debuted at Victoria Miro, London (2015); Denison Museum at Denison University, Granville (2015); Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair Community College, Sedalia (2015); Sullivan Museum and History Center at Norwich University, Northfield (2015); Cornell Fine Art Museum at Rollins College, Winter Park (2015); Gallery 221 at Hilsborogh Community College Dale Mabry, Tampa (2015); Teatro La Fenice, Venice (2015); Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham (2016); The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland (2016); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (2017); DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra (2017); Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo (2017); Montclair Art Museum, Montclair (2018); Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2018); Studiengallerie 1.357 at Goethe Universität, Frankfurt (2018); The Island Club, Limassol (2018); Tate Modern, London (2019); Sprüth Magers, London (2019); Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel (2020); Heart Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning (2020); Du Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg (2020). Selected group exibitions include: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2015); National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2015); Georgia Museum of Art, Athens (2016); University Galleries at the University of San Diego, San Diego (2016); The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2017); The Ian Potter Museum of Art at The University of Melbourne, Melbourne (2017); Indiana University Northwest School of the Arts Gallery, Gary (2018); Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis (2018); Sarasota Art Museum, Sarasota (2019); Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus (2019); Grassi Museum, Leipzig (2020); Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoot (2020); Sallas Museum of Art, Dallas (2020); New York Historical Society Museum & Library, New York (2020); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2020); New Museum, New York (2020), among others. Walker 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. Other awards and recognition include: The Brendan Gill Prize, The Municial Art Society, New York (2015); W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, Harvard University Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Cambridge (2017); Member, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia (2018); Honorary Academician, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2019); and the International Humanities Prize, Washington University, St. Louis (2020).