Darryl Pinckney On Kara Walker: Surprising

Darryl Pinckney went to Kara Walker’s tremendous recent gallery show in New York and wrote a sensitive, insightful essay about it: ‘In Kara Walker’s exhibition of twenty-three new works, mostly on unframed paper, at the Sikkema Jenkins gallery in New York, it is as though she has drawn her

images of antebellum violence from the nation’s hindbrain. Walker has been creating her historical narratives of disquiet for a while, and they are always a surprise: the inherited image is sitting around, secure in its associations, but on closer inspection something deeply untoward is happening between an unlikely pair, or suddenly the landscape is going berserk in a corner. It has been noted in connection with Walker’s cutouts what a feminine and domestic form the silhouette was in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and that because of its ability to capture the likeness of a person in profile it was also a kind of pre-photography.’

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