The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, December 14, 2017


Harvard Art Museums acquire Kara Walker drawing
Harvard Art Museums curators Mary Schneider Enriquez and Edouard Kopp viewing Kara Walker’s U.S.A. Idioms at the museums’ Somerville Research Center. Photo: Tara Metal; © President and Fellows of Harvard College.


CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- The Harvard Art Museums have acquired U.S.A. Idioms (2017), a monumental drawing created by artist Kara Walker in the summer of 2017 amid heightened political turmoil and racial violence across the country. This unrest culminated most visibly in the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that left one dead and more than twenty injured.

The large-scale work—nearly 12 by 15 feet—was included in Walker’s highly regarded Fall 2017 exhibition, Sikkema Jenkins and Co. is Compelled to Present the Most Astounding and Important Painting show of the fall Art Show viewing season!, presented at the New York gallery.

In her artist’s statement for the exhibition, written and delivered after the Charlottesville rally, Walker wrote: “I am tired, tired of standing up, being counted, tired of ‘having a voice,’ or worse, ‘being a role model.’ Tired, true, of being a featured member of my racial group and/or my gender niche… I roll my eyes, fold my arms, and wait. How many ways can a person say racism is the real bread and butter of our American mythology…?”

Walker became famous in the 1990s for large-scale, cut-paper, silhouetted figures that narrate her candid investigations of race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity. In 2014, the artist gained still more renown with A Subtlety, the gargantuan “sugar sphinx” installed in the defunct Domino sugar factory in Brooklyn. Her latest work, which merges collage, political cartooning, and history painting, has been described by New York Times art critic Roberta Smith as “a brawl of works on paper.” In U.S.A. Idioms, the artist explores a theme that has long been evident in her work: the brutal legacies of slavery, including the simmering racism and oppression that remain painfully present today. Using sumi ink on paper, Walker renders her by now iconic African American figures and their oppressors within a sparse landscape of knotty, twisted tree trunks and bare limbs, cutting and pasting these figures and the landscape onto an enormous white-gessoed ground. The work is a volatile collage of recognizable figures from Walker’s oeuvre; multiple narratives play out and interweave in a statement that is as monumental in its message as in its scale.

“This is a powerhouse of a work—provocative in its subject and scale and also, as a drawing, incredibly beautiful and technically exhilarating,” said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. “Given the teaching and learning mission of the Harvard Art Museums, and our legacy as a site for the study of great drawings from across time and place, it feels especially appropriate us for to bring this new and compelling work to Cambridge. Harvard’s president Drew Gilpin Faust, a scholar of the Civil War, slavery, and the American South, has drawn attention to the university’s institutional history and has prompted the campus community to examine painful realities of African American heritage that have until recently remained unspoken and unaddressed. Walker’s willingness to foreground ‘contentious images and objectionable ideas,’ to use the artist’s own words, challenges us to look, not look away.”

The acquisition of U.S.A. Idioms comes as Faust completes her final year as president of Harvard; it is the among the first major purchases of contemporary art under Tedeschi, who became director of the Harvard Art Museums in July 2016. The museums are currently developing an exhibition plan for U.S.A. Idioms.

The acquisition of the work was orchestrated by Mary Schneider Enriquez, the Houghton Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Edouard Kopp, the Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings. The two have been working together with other colleagues at the Harvard Art Museums to bolster the collection of contemporary drawings. Well aware of Kara Walker’s work and impact, they actively sought to acquire a major example of her draftsmanship. They were among the first museum representatives to reserve one of Walker’s new works from the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. exhibition.

“Kara Walker is one of the most thought-provoking and ground-breaking artists of our time,” said Schneider Enriquez. “She has an incomparable vision, articulating biting issues like racism, oppression, and gender in a way that demonstrates her mastery of visual expression.” Added Kopp: “You know a great work of art when you see one. Here is a magisterial drawing that combines graphic power, expressive force, and narrative ambiguity on the grand scale of history painting. Intensely thought-provoking and sadly topical, U.S.A. Idioms seems to both invite and defy interpretation.”

Schneider Enriquez and Kopp expect that U.S.A. Idioms will draw interest from a wide variety of disciplines, including history, law, literature, political science, religion, philosophy, art history, and visual and environmental studies. The museums will support exploration of Walker’s themes, as well as her artistic practice as a whole, both in the galleries and in the Art Study Center, where students, scholars, and general visitors can view other works by Walker in the collections.





Today's News

December 6, 2017

Lubaina Himid becomes oldest winner of United Kingdom's Turner Prize

A petition decries 'suggestive' painting at New York's Met

Thornton Triceratops gets new identity

Murillo masterpiece returns to the Walker Art Gallery following revealing conservation work

Sotheby's New York to offer the earliest known illuminated Hebrew Bible from Spain

Save Venice Inc. restores Titian's Madonna di Ca' Pesaro

Harvard Art Museums acquire Kara Walker drawing

Jean d'Ormesson, France's 'prince of letters', dies aged 92

Sierra Leone's huge 'peace diamond' fetches $6.5 mn

Trio to replace disgraced Levine at Met for much-awaited 'Tosca'

Ferdinand Hodler's "Thunersee" soars to CHF 4.3 million as winter landscapes triumph at Sotheby's Zurich

Toledo Museum of Art adds three Native American works of art to its collections

The Redwood Library & Athenaeum opens Paris Salon exhibition

Christiane Paul named Director + Chief Curator of Galleries at Parsons School of Design

Mona Lisa: The world-renowned portrait that still affects world's culture

Site-specific sculpture unveiled in Sydney CBD's Wynyard Station suspended above a bank of escalators

Turner Auctions + Appraisals to offer the Anita Hellman Collection of Costume & Fine Jewelry

Jonathan Wong appointed to head Sotheby's S/2 Gallery in Hong Kong

The couture fashion jewellery of Shaun Leane achieves $2.6 million at Sotheby's

Ansel Adams Museum set to highlight photographs auction at Doyle

The Warhol appoints Clark Crowley-Bunyard Advancement Director

Galerie Max Hetzler opens exhibition of recent works by Toby Ziegler

Sotheby's Department of Scientific Research celebrates first anniversary

Carnegie International commits to fair artist pay

Supercars and timeless classics triumph at multi-million pound Bond Street sale

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- A petition decries 'suggestive' painting at New York's Met

2.- Leonardo Da Vinci sold for $450 million is headed to Louvre Abu Dhabi: Official

3.- Desperately seeking this Frida Kahlo painting. Last seen in Poland

4.- Lubaina Himid becomes oldest winner of United Kingdom's Turner Prize

5.- Two Gustav Klimt masterpieces on loan to the National Gallery of Canada

6.- Frick makes its most significant painting purchase in nearly 30 years

7.- Met Opera suspends Levine after sex abuse allegations

8.- Louvre launches appeal to acquire King François I's Book of Hours

9.- Smart-Guard, a new way to pack, ship and store fine art

10.- Save Venice Inc. restores Titian's Madonna di Ca' Pesaro



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful