A Series of Muses: Kara Walker

Kara Walker the iconoclastic artist whose work with its overtones of sexuality, violence, and race is a disquieting mix for many people. Here in her words, Kara Walker, tells us how she inspires and disturbs the art world: 

“I had a catharsis looking at early American varieties of silhouette cuttings. What I recognize, besides narrative and historicity and racism, was very physical displacement: the paradox of removing a form from a blank surface that in turn creates a black hole. I was struck by the irony of so many of my concerns being addressed: blank/black. Hole/Whole, Shadow/Substance.”

“Human behavior is so murky and violent and messed-up and inappropriate. And I think my work draws on that. It comes from there. It comes from responding to situations like that, and it pulls it out of an audience.”

“The artist is like an abuser of everything, picture, history, and other people.”

"I have no interest in making a work that doesn't elicit a feeling."

"Challenging and highlighting abusive power dynamics in our culture is my goal; replicating them is not."

"Humor's always been the problem of my work, hasn't it? When working, I feel satisfied when I surprise myself. And when I surprise myself, I wind up laughing."

Pascal DuBoisComment