Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kara Walker’s Sweet, Not So Subtle Revenge on Big Sugar

If you know the sexually and racially charged art of Kara Walker, you know one thing—she’s not subtle. Walker’s artistic oeuvre to date makes the title of her newest work, which is also her first large-scale public project, all the funnier—A Subtlety. Subtitled the Marvelous Sugar Baby for the 35-foot-high, 75-foot-long, sugar sphinx “Mammy” (shown above) at the heart of the exhibition, Walker’s “subtlety” show both alludes to the absurdly elaborate desserts (also known as “entremets”) the nobility of the past would stage for their guests as well as the subtle, unseen ways that the sugar we use to sweeten our lives still comes as the cost of the embitterment of lives of those living in third world countries. Adding to the symbolism, A Subtlety appears in the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, which was once the largest sugar refinery in the United States but which is now destined for the wrecking ball. In what might be the most significant (if not the physically largest) artistic statement of the year, Kara Walker’s A Subtlety enacts sweet, not so subtle revenge on big sugar of yesterday and calls us to examine the cruelty mixed into every sweet spoonful today. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Kara Walker’s Sweet, Not So Subtle Revenge on Big Sugar."

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