ARTBOOK BLOG

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IMAGE GALLERY

"World’s Exposition" (1997) is reproduced from
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 8/1/2023

Long-awaited ‘Kara Walker: White Shadows in Blackface’ releases this week!

"World’s Exposition" (1997) is reproduced from Kara Walker: White Shadows in Blackface, art historian Robert Hobbs’ long-awaited,176-page clothbound monograph from Karma Books, New York. Collecting two in-depth essays by Hobbs, written on the occasion of Walker exhibitions at the 2002 São Paulo Art Biennial and Kunstverein Hannover, the book examines her work via the lens of five important sources of her art: blackface Americana, Harlequin romances, Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection and Stone Mountain’s racist tourist attraction and the minstrel tradition. “The world of the minstrel show was a mediated realm predicated on whites’ outrageous satires of downtrodden blacks,” Hobbs concludes. “It did not matter if these white shadows in blackface were true or not: the important thing was that they were entertaining. And entertainment in turn gave truth to the lie these shows perpetuated. Building on the constructed nature of reality and the minstrel show’s contribution to it, Walker’s work uses this bowdlerized theatrical tradition as a lens for viewing the more widespread mass-mediated world in which we live. Her art overlays minstrelsy’s feigned identities with the artificiality of the Harlequin antebellum romance to characterize the simulated and shadowy world many have continued to claim as real.”

Kara Walker: White Shadows in Blackface

Kara Walker: White Shadows in Blackface

Karma Books, New York
Clth, 6.5 x 9.25 in. / 176 pgs / 26 color / 21 b&w.

$40.00  free shipping





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