Kara Walker: Annotating History
In 2007 Time named Kara Walker one of the 100 most influential figures in the art. Writing for the magazine, artist Barbara Kruger stated: "Few have managed to capture the collision between past and present, between histories and horror stories, between sexuality and shame, between skin and meat, as powerfully and provocatively as Kara Walker."
The core of the exhibition was a recent acquisition, the portfolio Harper's Illustrated History of the Civil War, (Annotated). Walker appropriated selected illustrations from the two-volume publication of 1866 and 1868, enlarged them, and superimposed silhouette figures which interrupt and transform the dominant nineteenth-century narrative of battle, death, and national sacrifice. She imposes the grim reality of slavery and racism to challenge both the selective erasures and portrayals of African Americans.
The exhibition included the original Harper's Illustrated History of the Civil War, courtesy of Honnold Library; the cut paper installation Danse de la Nubienne Nouveaux and the series Negress Notes, courtesy of the Broad Foundation.
Professor Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, author of Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker, professor of American Art and Director of Visual Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, presented a public lecture entitled “A Flood of Rememory: Hurricane Katrina and Visual Trauma.”