The drawing practice of Kara Walker: a unique opportunity to encompass the celebrated and impacting
universe of Kara Walker, this publication gathers together 600+ works
on paper realized by the artist between 1993 and 2020—most of them
being reproduced for the first time, as they come out from her until now
zealously-guarded private archive.
Renowned for her recent monumental installations, drawing on paper
remains the foundation of Walker's creative practice, offering an air of
spontaneity and unfiltered emotion which make this volume an
unprecedented insight into Walker's world, influences, and topics. Many
of her works on paper are executed with a brush, which lends them a
flowing and open dynamic. Small sketches, studies, collages, and
meticulously finished large-format works appear side by side with
diaristic notes, typewritten reflections on index cards, and dream
journals. The intimacy of each individual page contrasts with the
stunning range of works. Flipping through this publication, the reader
effectively becomes an eyewitness to the genesis of Walker's art,
observing her as she enacts her thinking on the paper and adapts,
invents, and transforms figures and narratives. Scrutinizing her own
identity—as an artist, an African-American, a woman, and a
mother—Walker probes both its personal dimension and its social
implications in the context of current events. The latter aspect is
prominent in four new sensational portraits that reflect on Barack
Obama's presidency and lasting influence.
Designed by Gavillet & Cie, Geneva, the book features more than 600 reproductions as well as three essays by Anita Haldemann, Head of the Kunstmuseum Basel Prints and Drawings Department and show curator, cultural historian Maurice Berger, and critic and artist Aria Dean.
Published with Kunstmuseum Basel, this publication accompanies Kara
Walker touring exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel (2021), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2022), and De Pont Museum, Tilburg (2022).
Born in Stockton (California) in 1969, Kara Walker lives in New York.
When she was 13, her family moved to Atlanta. She earned a Bachelor of
Fine Arts from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and a Master of Fine
Arts from the renowned Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. She
rose to prominence in the mid-1990s with wall-sized silhouette
installations. One of the most acclaimed artists working in the United
States today, Kara Walker adopts traditional artistic approaches to
create provocative work executed with extraordinary technical finesse
while addressing history, race relations, gender roles, sexuality, and
violence. Walker does not propose a conciliatory view of the past;
rather, she prods the viewer to question established narratives and
entrenched myths. She is unsparing in her analysis of deep-rooted
conflicts and persistent social ills.