MacArthur Fellows Program

Kara E. Walker

Installation Artist | Class of 1997

Title
Installation Artist
Location
Providence, Rhode Island
Age
28 at time of award

Kara Walker is an artist whose works often deal with issues of race in the antebellum South.

Walker's installations, drawings, and paintings are provocative and grimly humorous.  In her installations, she creates narratives of the old South by cutting stylized, life-sized figures from black paper that she pastes, as in a mural, around the walls of the gallery she is showing in.  Her use of the silhouette technique and related sources derive from the German fairy tale, history painting, and colonial portraiture.  Walker’s installations, filled with slave-era, stereotypical figures, are graphic and violent tableaus that explore the vestiges of sexual, physical, and racial exploitation in a challenging manner.

Walker is an associate professor in the Visual Arts division at Columbia University.  Since 1990, she has participated in group exhibits at galleries throughout the United States and abroad, including the Whitney Biennial (1997) and the Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2002).  She has had solo exhibits at Wooster Gardens in New York (1995, 1996, 1998), the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1997), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1997), and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1997). 

Walker received a B.F.A. (1991) from the Atlanta College of Art and an M.F.A. (1994) from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Last updated January 1, 2005

News About this Fellow
December 5, 2017
"Harvard Acquires New Work by Kara Walker"
Harvard Gazette
Kara E. Walker , 1997 MacArthur Fellow
October 26, 2017
"How Kara Walker Boldly Rewrote Civil War History"
Smithsonian Magazine
Kara E. Walker , 1997 MacArthur Fellow
September 7, 2017
"Kara Walker Traces Slavery’s Bitter Legacy With New Ways of Drawing"
The New York Times
Kara E. Walker , 1997 MacArthur Fellow
September 5, 2017
"The Artist and the Revolutionary"
The Village Voice
Kara E. Walker , 1997 MacArthur Fellow
August 16, 2017
"Kara Walker, ‘Tired of Standing Up,’ Promises Art, Not Answers"
The New York Times
Kara E. Walker , 1997 MacArthur Fellow
View all news
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