The Crocker Art Museum is proud to present Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power which will be on view September 22, 2013 through January 5, 2014. Kara Walker, honored as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people, is known for her powerful visual narratives that explore the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Her thought-provoking and raw approach to these issues has garnered much acclaim, especially for the manner by which she examines the psychology of slavery through fictional narratives.
Featuring 60 objects from the collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, the exhibition demonstrates the artistic approach Walker takes to subject matter, historical narrative, and the complexities and ambiguities of racial and historical representation. To make her pursuit compelling, Walker radically reinvented the 19th-century silhouette portrait, elevating the practice of tracing onto and cutting out black paper figures into a formidable, grand format for her “nightmarish fictions.”
The exhibition explores many aspects of Walker’s art, especially her transformation of the cut-paper silhouette into lyrical and argumentative expression. The graphic nature of the artist’s work, both in content and format, moves from the wall to moving picture in this presentation of silhouettes, drawings, prints, and video. As race remains one of the most difficult conversations to have in America, this exhibition is especially timely amid the discourse on race today, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Walker’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. A 1997 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award, Walker was the United States representative to the 2002 Bienal de São Paulo. Born in 1969 in Stockton, California and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Kara Walker lives in New York where she is on the faculty of the MFA program at Columbia University.
The traveling exhibition is organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon.
The Crocker Art Museum was the first art museum in the Western U.S. and remains one of the leading art museums in California today. Established in 1885, the Museum features one of the country’s finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays. Every third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday” sponsored by Western Health Advantage. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.