Kara Walker Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage Through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored [detail], 1997 Cut paper on wall Approx. 144 x 1,860 inches (365.8 x 4,724.4 cm) Installation view: The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, IL Photo: Tom van Eynde

July 17, 2021

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Exhibition

Kara Walker Exhibition

Kara Walker: Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored

An initiative of Toward Common Cause

Exhibition through October 17, 2021
11:00AM- 4:00PM

ADMISSION:

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Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 explores the extent to which certain resources—air, land, water, and even culture—can be held in common. Raising questions about inclusion, exclusion, ownership, and rights of access, the exhibition considers art’s vital role in society as a call to vigilance, a way to bear witness, and a potential act of resistance. Presented on the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program, Toward Common Cause deploys the Fellows Program as “intellectual commons” and features new and recontextualized work by 29 visual artists who have been named Fellows since the award program’s founding in 1981.

Across three decades of making artworks of black cut-out figures, Kara Walker (MacArthur Fellow, 1997) has turned the harm of racism upon itself by refusing to veil the history of slavery in shame or euphemism. Underscoring racism, stereotypes, and bodily desire as black-and-white issues, this installation presents antebellum characters in the style of black paper portraiture, a genre whose use from the mid-17th century through the late 19th century not only overlapped with the history of slavery but also perpetuated extremely problematic stereotypes about Black people. Offered up for reconsideration in our time, these vignettes confront us with powerful questions of how to deal with our nation’s painful past.

Now making a historic return to Chicago’s South Side, this installation was first presented in 1997 at the nearby Renaissance Society; photographs shown here document its original installation and Kara’s process of cutting out its elements by hand in the gallery.

Kara Walker Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage Through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored [detail], 1997 Cut paper on wall Approx. 144 x 1,860 inches (365.8 x 4,724.4 cm) Installation view: The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, IL Photo: Tom van Eynde

Tickets

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Kara Walker: Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored is a collaboration between the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the DuSable Museum of African American History. It is an initiative of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, which is organized by the Smart Museum of Art in collaboration with exhibition, programmatic, and research partners across Chicago. Toward Common Cause is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and curated by Abigail Winograd, MacArthur Fellows Program 40th Anniversary Exhibition Curator, Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.

For more information about the artist and Toward Common Cause, please visit

towardcommoncause.org.

Kara Walker Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage Through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored [detail], 1997 Cut paper on wall Approx. 144 x 1,860 inches (365.8 x 4,724.4 cm) Installation view: The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, IL Photo: Tom van Eynde

July 17, 2021

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