The Cleveland Museum of Art is pleased to present The Ecstasy of St. Kara: Kara Walker, New Work, debuting her latest series of large-scale works on paper. The drawings stem from Walker’s influential time spent in Rome this year, marking an extensive query about the power of myths and themes of martyrdom that dominate and complicate the issue of slavery and free will. Walker’s newest series reflects upon Christianity’s complex history, globally as well as in black life—in her own words, “alternating between captor and redeemer”—rendering it as absolutely current and pressing.
Kara Walker (born 1969) is a highly regarded artist of international prominence. She has received numerous awards throughout her career
This exhibition contains explicit imagery that may be inappropriate for young audiences.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the companion publication, The Ecstasy of St. Kara: Kara Walker, New Work , explores Walker's astute examination of race, gender, and identity. Walker’s newest series of large-scale drawings stem from her consideration of monuments and notions of permanence and impermanence following her massive public art project, A Subtlety, in Brooklyn. Influenced in part by the artist’s recent residency at the American Academy in Rome, this series of drawings is an extensive examination of how Walker envisions the rise and fall of society. Richly illustrated, this publication includes plates of each drawing, as well as intimate photographs of the artist at work taken by her partner, acclaimed artist and filmmaker Ari Marcopoulos. An introduction by Reto Thüring and Beau Rutland contextualizes the importance of this latest evolution within Walker’s oeuvre; John Lansdowne addresses the topic of Christian iconography and its relationship to Walker’s new drawings; and Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith contributes a new poem. In addition, a text by Walker considers her work within the recent political climate.