Keys to the Coop
Kara Walker has succeeded in developing a signature visual vocabulary that is instantly recognizable for its engagement with both nineteenth-century imaging techniques and the historical period of the American antebellum South. In Keys to the Coop, Walker depicts a young African American girl in bold silhouette, holding the decapitated head of a chicken in one hand, while in the other she nonchalantly twirls a large key. Walker portrays a self-empowered anti-heroine who possesses the key to her own salvation, in stark black-and-white. This image also provocatively alludes to food, gender, and racial mythologies, subjects that Walker often foregrounds in her work.
- Artist: Kara Walker, American, born 1969
- Medium: Linocut on paper
- Dates: 1997
- Dimensions: 46 1/4 x 60 1/2 in. (117.5 x 153.7 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed upper right: "KW '97"
- Inscriptions: Inscribed upper left in graphite: "Keys to the Coop"
- Collections:Contemporary Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 1997.152
- Credit Line: Robert A. Levinson Fund
- Rights Statement: © Kara Walker
- Caption: Kara Walker (American, born 1969). Keys to the Coop, 1997. Linocut on paper, 46 1/4 x 60 1/2 in. (117.5 x 153.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Robert A. Levinson Fund, 1997.152. © Kara Walker
- Record Completeness: Best (84%)