Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Book Review: Kara Walker's "After The Deluge"

Check out Imani Powell's review of artist Kara Walker's After The Deluge (Rizzoli, $29.95) in the October 2007 issue of Essence Magazine. For more information , go to:

1 comment:

Christopher said...

"I felt the work of Kara Walker was sort of revolting and negative and a form of betrayal to the slaves, particularly women and children; that it was basically for the amusement and the investment of the white art establishment."
--Betye Saar, African American artist

"What is troubling and complicates the matter is that Walker's words in published interviews mock African Americans and Africans...She has said things such as 'All black people in America want to be slaves a little bit.'...Walker consciously or unconsciously seems to be catering to the bestial fantasies about blacks created by white supremacy and racism."
--Howardena Pindell, African American artist, at the Johannesburg Biennale, October 1997.

All black people in America want to be slaves a little bit.
--Kara Walker, as quoted by Jerry Saltz in a 1996 FlashArt piece

Her blacks don't resist aggression, or at least not in obvious ways. They seem to give in to it, let themselves be abjectly used, often by one another.
--2003 NYT article by Holland Carter

Kara Walker is not presenting a heightened reality of American slavery. Blackness is a concept that Kara Walker objectively debases. These images are visualizations of what Toni Morrison describes as the white subconscious Playing in the Dark. As such, they are a reflection of the psychosis of white supremacy. However, it is not a full critique of this mindset and may in fact justify this mindset. It is my opinion that she rationalizes and projects in her work, the psychosis of the white male mindset, without the guilt, in fact with total acceptence.

Please find more discussion on Kara Walker's work at