This exhibition contains mature content, including depictions of physical and sexual violence.

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 while also utilizing satire and humor, 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 panels and labels

Find support and resources provided by the Sexual Assault Center’s Black Client Services Team.

What visitors are saying . . .

“A reminder of what should never be forgotten and repeated in any way.”

“Powerful and haunting, never afraid to confront the truth, even if the subject matter isn’t exactly comfortable.  Absolutely incredible.”

“This exhibit brilliantly reflects how racism is a part of every Black American’s daily life. We as a society cannot move forward without facing this reality. Thank you for this exhibit. More of this Please. Nashville/TN/US needs it to be seen.”

“Disturbing. Haunting. Powerful. Thought provoking. Beautiful.”

“It evokes a lot of emotion –much appreciated work – thank you!

Exhibition tour schedule:
July 23–October 10, 2021—Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN
November 5–January 17, 2022—Cincinnati Art Museum, OH
May 20–September 25, 2022—Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, FL
March 9–June 24, 2023—Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA       
Fall 2023—USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA                 

Silver Supporter

Supported in part by

Exhibition dates are subject to change.

Exhibition gallery

Events and programs

Educator Program
Saturday, August 14, 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

Please consider supporting the Frist Art Museum with a donation. Your gift is essential to our mission of serving the community through the arts and art access, in particular. We truly appreciate your generosity.