sculpture

Culture
9:46 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Artist Kara Walker Draws Us Into Bitter History With Something Sweet

Viewers of Kara Walker's A Subtlety described the sculpture as "beautiful" and "the American sphinx." Another said, "She is so exposed and she's so vulnerable, but at the same time she has some grace and majesticness that is completely unapproachable."
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Kara Walker was barely out of art school when she won a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, in 1997. Back then, her early work shocked audiences in part because her murals looked so charming from a distance. Black paper shadow portraits of colonial figures seemed to dance on white gallery walls; but lean in and you'd find your nose pressed up against images of slavery's horrors — mammies, masters, lynchings and sexual violence.

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