Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit
: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes."previously on MeFi: The Marvelous Sugar Baby - "An NPR interview with the creator of a 75 foot long Mammy-Sphinx sculpture made entirely of sugar. Award-winning artist Kara Walker's latest work challenges viewers to confront the relationships between American history, racism, slavery, and industrialization."
*HuffPo: Debunking the Myths of Kara Walker's Sugar Sphinx
*Hyperallergic: What Does Kara Walker’s Sugary Sphinx Tell Us?
The Audacity of No Chill: Kara Walker in the Instagram Capital
- "I walked over to get a full-on, yet still-distant view of the giant sphinx. Two seconds later, my eyes exploded and I was crying all over myself... And in the midst of all of these feelings, I heard people yell "Sugar tits!" "Hey, did you get a picture of the lips? Those sweet lips!" and "That's a big ass!" Then came the photo ops, which ranged from the Munch/Home Alone "Scream" face to sexually inappropriate. My head was spinning."
*Artnet: Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx Spawns Offensive Instagram Photos
*Here It Is, the Kara Walker Selfie Generator
- "The website [...] allows users to superimpose a picture of themselves against either the front or the back of Walker’s monumental sculpture."
We Are Here: Black Women Claim Their Space at Kara Walker’s Controversial Sugar Sphinx Show
(photos) - "Shocked by the exhibition’s disproportionately White crowds and irritated by what they considered to be crude reactions to Walker’s work, New York-based artists Ariana Allensworth, Salome Asega, Taja Cheek, Sable Elyse Smith and Nadia Williams were eager to organize a gathering for people of color."
“We Are Here”: People of Color Gather at Kara Walker Show
(an interview with the We Are Here organizers)
Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx Evokes Call From Black Women: ‘We Are Here.’
- "At one point during the afternoon, Nick Powers" (the author of "Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit" [top link]) "a professor who teaches black literature at SUNY Westbury, stood at the Sphinx’s backside to warn viewers about the significance of posing for comical photos in front of it. His words drew applause from some nearby spectators. ”What a lot of people of color in this room are feeling but just haven’t said out loud is that they don’t like how folks pose in front of this statue dedicated to the violence of slavery,” Powers said. “It’s actually a collective feeling.”"
White People Problems: On Kara Walker and the Way White People Interact with Black Art
- "But the very nature of “A Subtlety” forces interaction with black history, making the white response to it a part of the work of art itself. And while many—probably a majority—of the white people who have gone to see Walker’s exhibit have been appropriately respectful of the work, the mere fact that countless others have no reverence and no care for the message behind the piece is as fascinating as it is distressing and is what takes Walker’s work out of the realm of excellence and into the realm of brilliance... Part of the power of the work is to look at the people interacting with it and realizing that no matter how far we’ve come, we’ve still got a long way to go."
The Overwhelming Whiteness of Black Art
- "...it’s reassuring that so many white people have a vested — or at least passing — interest in consuming art that deals with race. At the same time I found it unsettling to view art by a black artist about racism in an audience that’s mostly white. It reinforced the idea that black people’s histories are best viewed but not physically experienced."