You don’t have to see visit a museum to become enamored with esteemed painter Kara Walker. Her latest exhibit at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery is intriguing, with its graphic commentaries on race and Black womanhood–but it was the press release nearly stole the show.
Walker used her release to make a statement (and relay an eloquent eye roll) on thoughtless and clichéd consumption of artistry. (She once even critiqued shallow consumptions of her art by recording people taking selfies in front of one of her sculpture installations (pictured above)).
“Art Students of Color will eye her work suspiciously and exercise their free right to Culturally Annihilate her on social media,” Walker writes in an exasperated anticipation of the rhetoric surrounding her artistry. “Parents will cover the eyes of innocent children. School Teachers will reexamine their art history curricula. Prestigious Academic Societies will withdraw their support, former husbands and former lovers will recoil in abject terror. Critics will shake their heads in bemused silence. ”
The exhibit is in line with Walker’s previous works with its focus on the intersections of sex, violence and racism–so her expectations of parental condemnation are likely spot on. And her personal statement is just a testament to the reality she no longer bothers herself with regarding how anyone perceives work.
“I don’t really feel the need to write a statement about a painting show. I know what you all expect from me and I have complied up to a point,” she wrote. “But frankly I am tired, tired of standing up, being counted, tired of ‘having a voice’ or worse ‘being a role model.'”
“Tired, true, of being a featured member of my racial group and/or my gender niche,” Walker continued. “It’s too much, and I write this knowing full well that my right, my capacity to live in this Godforsaken country as a (proudly) raced and (urgently) gendered person is under threat by random groups of white (male) supremacist goons who flaunt a kind of patched together notion of race purity with flags and torches and impressive displays of perpetrator-as-victim sociopathy.”
You can read Walker’s full press release here.
Check out pictures from Kara Walker: Sikkema Jenkins and Co. is Compelled to present the most Astounding and Important Painting show of the fall Art Show viewing season! below: