A leading artist of her generation, Kara Walker (b. 1969) works in a range of mediums, including prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture, film, and the large-scale silhouette cutouts for which she is perhaps most recognized. Her powerful and provocative images employ contradictions to critique the painful legacies of slavery, sexism, violence, imperialism, and other power structures, including those in the history and hierarchies of art and contemporary culture. This exhibition offers a broad overview of her career through more than 80 works from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, premier collectors of works on paper in the United States. Some highlights of the exhibition are the complete Emancipation Approximation series and images from the Porgy & Bess series. Walker’s process involves extensive research in history, literature, art history, and popular culture. Intentionally unsentimental and ambiguous, the works can be disturbing yet also humorous, always exploring the irreconcilable inconsistencies that mirror the human condition. This is Walker’s first solo exhibition at the Frist Art Museum; her work Camptown Ladies appeared in our presentation of 30 Americans in 2013–14.

Frist Art Museum executive director and CEO Dr. Susan H. Edwards and Nashville poet Ciona Rouse served as co-curators. In addition to her curatorial responsibilities, Rouse composed original poems inspired by Walker’s works. She and Edwards have collaborated with educator Meagan Rust to plan programs related to the exhibition.

Co-curated by Susan H. Edwards and Ciona Rouse

Exhibition dates are subject to change.

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Exhibition gallery

Events and programs

Saturday, July 24, 2:00–3:00 p.m.

Performance inspired by Kara Walker: Cut to the Quick

Saturday, July 24, 3:00–4:00 p.m.

Performance inspired by Kara Walker: Cut to the Quick

Educator Program
Thursday, August 12, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Educator workshop
Kara Walker: Cut to the Quick

Saturday, August 21, 3:00–5:00 p.m.

Sensory Dreams, Sated: A tasting inspired by Kara Walker

Lectures + Gallery Talks
Saturday, September 11, 1:00–2:00 p.m.

Teach-In: Ka I ros

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