This article by art blogazine Hyperallergic compares Jeff Koons‘ contentious public sculpture, Split-Rocker, now at Rockefeller Center, to Kara Walker’s old Domino Factory sphinx, Sugar Baby, which I reviewed here. The parallels drawn in this essay by Jillian Steinhauer are rooted in politics; in traditional progressive fashion, she speaks a lot about how race influences art and has an interesting take on the personality versus the size of each work. I have yet to see Split-Rocker, so I cannot say for sure whether her portrayal is accurate or appropriate, but I hope this referral inspires you to go and see both aforementioned creations!
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– *or 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 it is about a half hour wait getting in, although beneath the blazing Williamsburg sun it feels like longer. Ice cream and beverage vendors walked by continuously during this purgatory period, and one peddler even said something meaningful and humorous about art. He expressed that after all, he, too, is an artist, using his own creativity to mix sugar syrup drinks. The interaction was typical New York, but it also made me wonder who we define as artists, and what we define as art, a pertinent question considering our context of an ‘art’ installation comprised of molasses-based structures and a monument made from sugar. (more…)