Arts & Culture
10:28 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Arts Rundown: Walker At SLAM, Help Create A Sculpture, Aaron Neville

Word from the Art Museum sent me looking for more information.

First the release: “The Saint Louis Art Museum presents Anything but Civil: Kara Walker’s Vision of the Old South. Kara Walker, the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur fellowship in 1997, is internationally renowned for her black-paper cut-out silhouettes of the American South. The free exhibition opens in Galleries 234 and 235 on Feb. 26.”

Walker is one of the artists Adrienne Davis talked about with Nancy Fowler as part of The Art of Collecting series.

Kara Walker, American, born 1969; Confederate Prisoners Being Conducted from Jonesborough to Atlanta, from the portfolio Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005; offset lithograph and screenprint; printed and published by LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University; 39 x 53 inches; Promised gift of Alison and John Ferring © Kara Walker, 2005
Credit Provided by SLAM

Davis, a Washington University law professor and vice provost, said, “I have a love-hate relationship with her work. I had to find a piece I could feel right about having in my home.”

(That piece, “The Emancipation Approximation,” depicts a classic Southern belle with an axe. Beneath her are numerous, severed heads, some of which appear to be kissing”.

“She’s trying to get us to think about slavery through a new lens,” Davis said. “People disagree about what she’s up to, but that’s what the best art does.”

What have others said about her work?

In a commentary in Harper’s, Yumna Mohamed talked the magazines post-Civil War images and about Walker’s Works from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, which will be part of the SLAM exhibit: "Walker’s juxtaposition of shadowy, often blatantly stereotypical features of African-American figures with precise, detailed prints portrays anew the racial history of the South, and reflects, in its way, on contemporary America."

A museum coordinator who brought a Walker show to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, explained that the silhouette form "was a really popular form during the 19th century, but considered cheap and disposable, so there’s an implication to her referencing this art form that was popular during this particularly oppressive era and elevating it to a grand scale. It’s a metaphor for a stereotype. You get minimal information, this outline, yet you’re able to infer the story … say ‘white character’ or ‘black character.’”

A post from the Art Institute of Chicago about her 2013 exhibit there, “Rise Up Yet Mighty Race!,” includes a lengthy video of Walker talking her work.

Recess

A colleague sent along a reddit post that asks St. Louisans to add their comments to a sculpture the artist – Geoffrey Krawczyk -- is working on at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Recess will use bricks salvaged from Old North to build a ruin. Each brick will be engraved and what is on the brick will depend on people from the area.

The request is straightforward: “comments must limited to 120 characters in order to fit on a reasonable number of bricks. Try to be succinct. If you don't wish to offer a comment, then you could leave any other info you like: your name or surname, how long you've lived in St. Louis, a short poem, etc. What message would you want the future to find? Be creative! Space is extremely limited so the commenting period will end on March 7 at 11:59 p.m.”

Want to participate? Go to the Recess project website.

Sheldon Education fundraiser

On a dreary cold January day came an email announcing the “spring” benefit for the Sheldon Educational Programs. The first smile was prompted by the word spring. The second by the headliner, Aaron Neville.

A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article talked about Neville, Don Was and Keith Richards working together in the studio on a new doo-wop album. Neville, who had turned 73 shortly before the article ran, said, “I like to sing to people. I want to sing to people as long as I’m here.”

The concert is at 8 p.m. Feb. 22. Seating includes regular admission and patron tickets.

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