Above photograph by the author. Depicts the back of Walker’s sphinx, Sugar Baby (2014).
You could say that Kara Walker’s latest exhibition, A Subtlety– *also entitled the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant– is anything but subtle. I attended the show today, and to get in it is about a half hour wait, though under the blazing Williamsburg sun it feels like longer. Ice cream and beverage vendors walked by continuously during this purgatory period and much to my surprise, one of the peddlers comically said something meaningful and humorous about art: he expressed that after all, he, too, is an artist, utilizing his own creativity in mixing multi-colored drinks. That one moment of watching him speak so gregariously was funny and typical New York, but it also made me wonder about who we define as artists, and what we define as art, a highly pertinent theme considering the context of an ‘art’ installation comprised of molasses-based structures and a monument made from sugar. (more…)