Kara Walker

American, b. 1969

5,458 followers
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Kara Walker

American, b. 1969

5,458
Followers
Biography

Kara Walker is known for creating black-and-white silhouette works that invoke themes of African American racial identity. Her subjects, often scenes of slavery, conflict or violence, are rendered in a style recalling traditional African illustration and folklore of the pre-Civil War United States; the works preserve and draw critical attention to these earlier cultural epochs. Working in collage, Walker cuts out and affixes black or white paper directly to gallery walls, and utilizes light projectors to cast viewers’ own shadows into her silhouetted narratives, creating a deeply engaging experience. Despite the oftentimes sombre nature of her subjects, Walker relies on humor and viewer interaction. “I didn’t want a completely passive viewer,” she has said. “I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.”

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Whitney Museum of American Art, and 4 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 8 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 5 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 7 more
Biography

Kara Walker is known for creating black-and-white silhouette works that invoke themes of African American racial identity. Her subjects, often scenes of slavery, conflict or violence, are rendered in a style recalling traditional African illustration and folklore of the pre-Civil War United States; the works preserve and draw critical attention to these earlier cultural epochs. Working in collage, Walker cuts out and affixes black or white paper directly to gallery walls, and utilizes light projectors to cast viewers’ own shadows into her silhouetted narratives, creating a deeply engaging experience. Despite the oftentimes sombre nature of her subjects, Walker relies on humor and viewer interaction. “I didn’t want a completely passive viewer,” she has said. “I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.”

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Whitney Museum of American Art, and 4 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 8 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 5 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 7 more
Shows Featuring Kara Walker
Articles Featuring Kara Walker
How Contemporary Artists Have Used “Washington Crossing the Delaware” to Challenge History
Feb 14th, 2020
Body Issues: Feminist Artists of the 1970s Used Art to Condemn Sexual Violence
Jan 14th, 2020
The Most Influential Artists of 2019
Dec 11th, 2019
The Artists Everyone Talked about during Frieze
Oct 7th, 2019
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