Kara Walker “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

The Domino Sugar Factory

poster for Kara Walker “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

This event has ended.

Creative Time presents the first large-scale public project by the internationally renowned Kara Walker, one of the most important artists of our era. Sited in the sprawling industrial relics of Brooklyn’s legendary Domino Sugar Factory, Walker’s physically and conceptually expansive work will respond to both the building and its history, exploring a radical range of subject matter and marking a major departure from her practice to date.

As is her custom, the artist has given this one a title that is at once poetic and descriptive:

At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker has confected: Kara Walker - 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

From May 10 through July 6, 2014, a monumental, immersive new work by legendary artist Kara Walker will dramatically transform the former Domino Sugar warehouse, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Walkerʼs highly anticipated project, which represents a major departure from her practice to date, responds to the history of the industrial site with a radical work that is both inspired by and embedded with the history of sugar and the sugar trade, including its many implications past and present. It promises simultaneously to provoke, engage, charm, and challenge visitors. Commissioned and presented by Creative Time, this is Walkerʼs first major public project.

The focus of A Subtlety is a colossal, sugar-coated sphinx-like figure that presides over the cavernous, 30,000-square foot space. Measuring some 75.5-feet long, 35.5 feet high, and 26 feet wide, the majestic figure towers over the warehouse as a contemporary ruin. She evokes a multiplicity of meanings and references, from raw sexual power, to oppression, to empire, to the historically inextricable role of slavery in the sugar economy, and much more. And while her ancestry clearly includes the sphinxes that figure prominently in ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, with their associations with lost empires, hubris, and cunning, Walkerʼs title also hints at another source: the subtleties, or intricate sugar sculptures, that were served at aristocratic tables in Europe during the Middle Ages, representing themes that would be recognizable to the dinner guests—the king, a hunt, warfare, etc.

The sphinx is attended by fifteen five-foot-high sculptures of young boys, arrayed in a procession leading to her. Scaled up from collectible tchotchkes that Walker found online, the figures—five of which are made of sugar—carry baskets and bananas as they approach the massive figure dominating this cathedral of industrialism.

Kara Walker is known for her candid investigation of race, gender, sexuality and violence through artworks that complicate traditional narratives of power and representation. Her distinctive and provocative cut-paper silhouettes, tableaus, drawings, paintings, films and performances have been recently exhibited in major retrospectives in cities including New York, London, Warsaw and Paris. Walker is the curator of Ruffneck Constructivists, currently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia through August 17 (http://icaphila.org/exhibitions/2402/ruffneck-constructivists).

Walker is the recipient of many awards including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award in 1997, the Deutsche Bank Prize in 2000, and United States Artists Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship in 2008. Her work is included in numerous museums and public collections including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery, London; the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI), Rome; and Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt. She lives and works in New York City.

EXTENDED HOURS (Through July 6):
**Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(Please note this installation will be closed on Friday July 4.)



from May 10, 2014 to July 06, 2014
Fridays 4-8pm; Saturdays and Sundays: 12-6pm.


Kara Walker

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