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Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be
Edited with text by Anita Haldemann. Foreword by Kara Walker. Text by Maurice Berger, Aria Dean.
A beautifully designed panorama of Kara Walker’s works on paper—all reproduced for the first time
A New York Times critics' pick | Best Art Books 2021
This gorgeous 600-page volume, with a printed cloth-over-paper binding, provides an exciting opportunity to delve into the creative process of Kara Walker, one of the most celebrated artists working in the United States today. Primarily recognized for her monumental installations, Walker also works with ink, graphite and collage to create pieces that demonstrate her continued engagement with her own identity as an artist, an African American, a woman and a mother.
More than 700 works on paper created between 1992 and 2020—which are reproduced in print for the first time from the artist’s own strictly guarded private archive—are collected in this volume, thus capturing Walker’s career with an unprecedented level of intimacy. Since the early 1990s, the foundation of her artistic production has been drawing and working on paper in various ways.
Walker’s completed large-format pieces are presented among typewritten notes on index cards and dream journal entries; sketches and studies for pieces appear alongside collages. The result is a volume that allows readers to become eyewitnesses to the genesis of Walker’s art and the transformative power of the figures and narratives she has created over the course of her career.Now based in New York, Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994; soon afterwards, Walker rose to prominence for her large, provocative silhouettes installed directly onto the walls of exhibition spaces. Walker’s work confronts history, race relations and sexuality in a decidedly non-conciliatory manner, urging the public to reconsider established narratives surrounding the experiences of African Americans in particular.
Featured image is reproduced from 'Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be.'
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
This stunning 600-page, cloth-bound volume is an incredible look into Kara Walker’s works on paper. Though Walker is perhaps most celebrated for her large-scale installations, this is an in-depth, refreshing turn to more than 700 of her works on paper dating from 1992 to 2020, exploring not only her political engagement but also her continued examination of her own identity as a Black woman and mother.
A large-scale panorama of Kara Walker’s works on paper are published for the first time in the artist’s career. Throughout the clothbound book’s 600 pages, the reader is given insight into Walker’s creative process and her engagement with being a mother, a woman, and an African American.
Kara Walker’s A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be is not for the faint-hearted. The artist is known for work that incorporates highly racialised and sexualised imagery as a way of exploring her own African American identity, and the integrity of a liberal-left art establishment that has long been fascinated, perhaps titillated, by her refusal to tone things down. These pages comprise a comprehensive archive of Walker’s works on paper – not just finished drawings, but preliminary sketches for the monumental works and sculptures that have made her one of the US’s most lauded yet contentious artists [...] The sentiment might be scrappy, but the works themselves are often beautiful, incorporating a range of high art references from Goya to Hogarth.
A collection of more than 700 works on paper, this 600-page volume mines the closely held, private archive of Kara Walker. Produced between 1992 and 2020, the ink, graphite and collage works are being reproduced in print for the first time. The dynamic mix includes sketches and studies as well index cards with typewritten notes and dream journal entries. The drawings and related works are a critical and foundational aspect of Walker’s artistic practice and provide a window into her thinking and creative process.
This stunning 600-page monograph, Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be, comprises 700 works on paper by the artist from 1992 to 2020, most of which are being published for the first time as they’ve been in Walker’s private archive. Handwritten notes, typed index cards, sketches and journal entries provide readers with intimate insight on the art.
This new 600-page Kara Walker monograph features more than 700 works created over the past three decades. Large-format pieces, sketches, and collages are juxtaposed with typewritten notes and journal entries, providing an intimate window into the creative process of an artist whose practice examines the intersection of race, gender, history, identity, and violence.
…A revelation. The drawings are a glimpse into another dimension of Walker’s creative vision because they are such a noted departure. Their quick, intense, furtive lines and chaotic subject matter are a dramatic break from her meticulous silhouette images […] Inside its deceptively plain burlap-colored soft cover, “A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be” is a visual assault.
More than 600 works on paper spanning nearly three decades have been collected together in a new publication devoted to the US artist Kara Walker, who rose to prominence in the mid-1990s for her provocative works addressing the Black experience. The book includes both finished drawings and preliminary sketches for some of her major works, offering viewers a candid look into Walker’s thinking and working process. Most of the images come from the artist’s private archive and are reproduced in print for the first time.
On opening the book, the first image is a drawing of a naked black woman in a posture of pleading agony, her arms reaching towards something we can't see. Her upper body is stretched forward as she balances herself on her bent legs, and her large round buttocks illuminated as though caught in the moonlight. I turn the page to see the full image. The woman's figure is now just a small part tucked in the bottom right corner of the illustration. We see she is crying out to a deified image of Barack Obama.
New York Times
Kara Walker offers an extraordinary tome: some 650 drawings, sketches and texts from her archive since the 1990s... It's a treasure.
Women's Art Journal
Adrienne L. Childs
Flipping through the pages of Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be is an experience in which anyone interested in this enigmatic and important artist should engage. In the end, we must take Walker’s advice and let the works speak for themselves.
STATUS: Out of stock indefinitely.
FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 5/16/2021
Featured spreads are from Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be, the astonishing new 600-page collection of drawings from the artist's private archive, published by JRP | Editions to accompany a major Kunstmuseum Basel show opening June 5, 2021. "It is hubristic to believe that a saved handwritten memo reading: 'A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be' taped to my wall should be regarded by me as a monument," Walker writes. "I scrawled it in the hope its meaning would become clear to me later. The phrase was initially cartooned onto a long scroll of images and notes from 2012, the entire phrase beginning 'The Sweet Sweet Smell of Success and the Stench of Ingratitude … A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be.” The image that accompanies this is that of a Black woman, naked, crouched—vomiting on the shoe of an empowered (clothed, pointing, scowling) white man, whose foot is perched on a shoeshine stand. The implication is that this drawing, in its smallness, is a rejection of blind subservience to patriarchal demands that art and artists cater to the market, to the man, to art history, to scale, or to anything not of her own making. I revel in the contradictory pose of the subservient miss, giving 'not what he asked for,' but giving nonetheless. The private drawing satisfies the public urge—a purgative. This phrase is also about the Anti-Art Star who finds more promise in the dark gravitational forces of the Black Hole.
Astronomically a black hole tears apart the known universe; it shakes the foundations of what science can know (and is thus ironically relegated to being 'black') and it is the potential fate of every star in the known heavens. I rediscovered the scroll with this comment fast on the heels of the news about the making of the first recorded image of a black hole—an out of focus capture, but an ultimately fascinating image taken by the Hubble telescope of the distant anomaly. Suddenly the poetic little phrase felt timely, and I rewrote it hastily and taped it to the wall as a reminder that it was ready to come into its own, to do its dark magic, as a title, and as an action." continue to blog
KARMA BOOKS, NEW YORK
USD $40.00 | CAN $47 UK £ 33
Pub Date: 2/28/2023
DESTE FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
USD $35.00 | CAN $49.95 UK £ 29
Pub Date: 5/21/2019
Active | In stock