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. She has had solo exhibitions at Du Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg (2020); Heart Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning (2020); Kunstmuseum Basel (2020); Sprüth Magers, London (2019); Tate Modern, London (2019); The Island Club, Limassol (2018); Studiengallerie 1.357 at Goethe Universität, Frankfurt (2018); Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2018); Montclair Art Museum, Montclair (2018); Toledo Museum of Art (2017); DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra (2017); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (2017); The Cleveland Museum of Art (2016); Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham (2016); Teatro La Fenice, Venice (2015); Gallery 221 at Hillsborogh Community College Dale Mabry, Tampa (2015); Cornell Fine Art Museum at Rollins College, Winter Park (2015); Sullivan Museum and History Center at Norwich University, Northfield (2015); Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair Community College, Sedalia (2015); Denison Museum at Denison University, Granville (2015); and Victoria Miro, London (2015) amongst others. Selected group exhibitions include: New Museum, New York (2020); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2020); New York Historical Society Museum & Library, New York (2020); Dallas Museum of Art (2020); Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoot (2020); Grassi Museum, Leipzig (2020); Columbus Museum of Art (2019); Sarasota Art Museum (2019); Saint Louis Art Museum (2018); Indiana University Northwest School of the Arts Gallery, Gary (2018); The Ian Potter Museum of Art at The University of Melbourne (2017); The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2017); University Galleries at the University of San Diego (2016); Georgia Museum of Art, Athens (2016); National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2015); and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2015); amongst others. Walker is the recipient of numerous 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 International Humanities Prize, Washington University, St. Louis (2020); Honorary Academician, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2019); Member, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia (2018); and the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, Harvard University Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Cambridge (2017).