Archive for Domino Sugar

Artist Kara Walker Draws Us Into Bitter History With Something Sweet…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2014 by sheriffali

 

[Source NPR]

 

Kara Walker was barely out of art school when she won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, in 1997. Back then, her early work shocked audiences in part because her murals looked so charming from a distance. Black paper shadow portraits of colonial figures seemed to dance on white gallery walls; but lean in and you’d find your nose pressed up against images of slavery’s horrors — mammies, masters, lynchings and sexual violence.

 

In other words, Walker is used to filling a room. But this spring she was asked to fill a warehouse — the abandoned Domino Sugar factory in New York. It’s about to be leveled to make way for condos and offices, but before it goes, Walker was asked to use this cavernous, urban ruin for something special.

 

Walker took me on a tour of the show a day before it opened. The factory is covered in sugar — it almost looks like insulation or burned cotton candy.

 

“It’s a little bit sticky in some areas …” she said. “There’s sugar caked up in the rafters.”

 

I was so busy trying not to get molasses on my shoes that when I turned the corner, I was stunned. There in the middle of this dark hall was a bright, white sphinx. The effect is the opposite of those white-walled galleries; a dark space and a towering white sculpture made of — what else? — sugar.

 

“What we’re seeing, for lack of a better term, is the head of a woman who has very African, black features,” Walker explained. “She sits somewhere in between the kind of mammy figure of old and something a little bit more recognizable — recognizably human. … [She has] very full lips; high cheekbones; eyes that have no eyes, [that] seem to be either looking out or closed; and a kerchief on her head. She’s positioned with her arms flat out across the ground and large breasts that are staring at you.”

 

Walker has dreamed up a “subtlety” — that’s what sugar sculptures were called in medieval times. They were a luxury confectioners created for special occasions.

 

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/16/313017716/artist-kara-walker-draws-us-into-bitter-history-with-something-sweet

 

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KARA WALKER - ARTIST MAY 17 14