Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker
Kara Walker’s works recover the iconography of the Antebellum South, using the collective memories of the plantation owners and their slaves. In most of her work, Walker revives the 18th- and 19th-century art of silhouetting, a long-dormant medium formerly used for portraiture, caricatures, idyllic landscapes, and decorative craft. Her cutouts are nearly life size and often span either an entire wall or an entire room. Blacks and whites, men, women, and children all participate in scenes of degradation, sex, and violence as Walker interprets and studies pre–Civil War race relations. Political, funny, and beautiful, these satirical comments on race, slavery, lust, and domination generate controversy from all sides. In this book, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw analyzes the inspiration for and reception of four of Walker’s pieces: The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven (1997), (Untitled) John Brown (1997), The Means to An End...A Shadow Drama in Five Acts (1995), and Cut (1998).
- 6.1” x 9.3”
- 208 pages
© Kara Walker
To learn more about the Broad collection and this artist, please visit https://www.thebroad.org/art/kara-walker