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Art & Art History

Voices: Kara Walker

Kara Walker

Monday, January 13, 1997–Tuesday, January 14, 1997
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 South Peoria Street

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Kara Walker (born 1969) is currently exhibiting her signature, stylized, black cut-out silhouettes in a solo show at the Renaissance Society. Her work often includes sexually explicit images, black paper cut-outs adhered directly to the white walls of the gallery. The artist’s world is quite frankly black and white. Walker’s refusal to acknowledge shame when dealing with issues of race and desire set within the context of slavery allows her to challenge, indeed taunt, our individual and collective historical imagination. Her bizarre, beautiful, and violent imagery reflects the paradox of what it means to be human; taking into account pain, parody, pleasure, poetry, and ultimately the perverse. The height of the cut-out genre’s popularity was between 1770 and 1850, but it was destined to become the poor man’s portraiture silhouettes deemed a craft rather than art form. Walker has exploited the irony inherent in the medium. 

walker received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.