Accessing Art as an Amateur: Kara Walker

Photograph: Alex Strada

I was sitting thinking on art but more specifically art installations that are temporary and not here to stay. I couldn’t help but remember Kara Walker’s project titled, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” in which sugar is used as a working material for the pieces created for this show.

In this video we learn about the concept, the planning and installation of Walker’s latest exhibit which features pieces of art that were made of material that isn’t lasting and is actually food, food byproduct: sugar. I know of Walker through her work through watercolor, charcoal and paper silhouettes. These installations were a surprise to me and actually broke new ground fro the artist as well for his wasn’t a medium she was used to working with.

Two things I learned: “Subtleties”, sugar sculpture made for the wealthy classes and two: I knew that they exhibit contained the central piece but was not aware of the smaller, child sculptures of child also made of sugar. The exhibit as a whole speaks to me on honoring images of people of the past who spent their lives with this medium, exploited people.

The fact that the sculptured pieces weren’t permanent really blows my mind and adds to the overall significance: like a moment in history these art pieces were fleeting. Deteriorating. I loved it.

Social commentary game on as to reflect on the state of the sugarcane business and industry itself in the state of NY. So what we know of this exhibit only stay in the form of us documenting it.

Once gone, it stays gone forever.

Read more about this piece here in an interview with the artist

Read more about her and see an outdated timeline of her career here

⭐️ Writer, Editor & Media Scholar with an affinity for red lipstick living in California. Writes about literature, art, cinema & amazing women. ⭐️