Kara Walker’s Upcoming Installation For NOLA’s Prospect.4 Biennial, And Uncomfortable Art

The NYT had a feature on Kara Walker’s installation for New Orleans’ Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp triennial later this year.

Ms. Walker’s contribution will be at Algiers Point, where a ferry will take visitors to an installation she created for a riverboat calliope — a pipe organ evocative of old circuses and steamboats — with the MacArthur-winning jazz pianist Jason Moran.

The piece only mentions four other works, those by Yoko Ono, the late Louis Armstrong (collages), Derrick Adams, and Mark Dion.

There will be a total of 73 artists taking part at 17 different venues around the city. Thirty of the works will be original for the triennial.

Here, a series of Kara’s works I photographed at the 21c Hotel Museum in Bentonville

and though her pieces are in the collections of several different museums, my favorite thus far is of her Freedom Fighters for the Society of Forgotten Knowledge, Northern Domestic Scene at the Menil in Houston.

At today’s NYT, Kara Walker is quoted on the Dana Schutz painting of Emmett Till’s coffin, “Open Casket” at the Whitney Biennial — actually the NYT article is on that and the Sam Durant “Scaffold” sculpture.

Kara Walker noted that “the history of painting is full of graphic violence and narratives that don’t necessarily belong to the artists own life,” but may inspire “deeper inquiries and better art. It can only do this when it is seen.”

(There are always things that will make people feel uncomfortable, and taking out all that juicy uncomfortable-ness would make a world full of…I don’t know…boring Thomas Kinkade in which we’re all just blankly staring slack-jawed at paintings of snow-capped mountain peaks. Pope.L’s “Claim”, at the Whitney Biennial in which he used slices of (real, stinky, pork maybe? prob?) bologna nailed to walls with b&w pictures of people atop to represent the percentage of Jews in New York (whyyyyyy?)makes me uncomfortable. And yet The Root thought it was pretty awesome. So what makes some of us cringe makes others applaud. Thus, art.)

Speaking of rotten food in an exhibit: Spencer Shoults “Cupcakes!” at Space One Eleven several years ago

Ingredients: acetic acid, acrylic tubing, baking powder, bolts, distilled water, eggs, eye bolts, flour, food coloring, glass, glue, grain alcohol, graphite, honey, hose clamps, hydrogen peroxide, icing, masonite, milk, motor oil, nails, paint, plastic caps, pvc tubing, salt, screws, shortening, silicone, silicone tape, sprinkles, sugar, teflon tape, valves, vanilla extract, white wine, wire, wood”