Saturday, September 9, 2017

Kara Walker traces slavery’s bitter legacy with new ways of drawing

By Roberta Smith
Ms. Walker’s “Christ’s Entry into Journalism,” sumi ink and collage on paper. The images here are not exclusively contemporary — note a man resembling the abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the lower left corner — but they implicate current events. Credit Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
NEW YORK---Like most outstanding artists, Kara Walker is unrelenting. In a press statement for her latest show at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., she wrote in her familiar, mock-serious yet dead-serious tone that she was “tired of ‘having a voice’ or worse ‘being a role model’ ” and of “being a featured member of my racial group and/or gender niche.” But Ms. Walker’s desire to stand down from the demands of her particular brand of fame has not made her stand down in her art, which is as disturbing and challenging as ever, if not more so. The show is a brawl of works on paper that has as much the feeling of a studio visit as an exhibition. Through Oct. 14, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., 530 West 22nd Street, Manhattan; 212-929-2262, [More]