Collections: Contemporary Art: Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching

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    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
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    2008.53.1a-v_detail4_PS4.jpg 2008.53.1a-v_detail2_PS4.jpg 2008.53.1a-v_detail3_PS4.jpg 2008.53.1a-v_detail1_PS4.jpg CUR.2008.53.1a-v_Sikkema_Jenkins_photo.jpg

    Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching

    Kara Walker distinguished herself in the mid-1990s through her panoramic murals composed of cut-paper silhouettes. She subverts the innocent intentions of this nineteenth-century medium, initially used for chaste portraits of socially prominent individuals, to create intense explorations of relationships based on power. Here, working in cut steel, she includes the stereotypical Civil War imagery of the South—a stately plantation mansion, small huts, weeping willows, shackled slaves, Confederate soldiers, and Southern belles—that characterizes her signature wall drawings and more recent films. As she explores stereotypes, Walker offers no resolution, and her evenhanded presentation includes neither villains nor heroes. This “play set” even seems to suggest that one could reorganize the cast of characters and their settings, creating new narratives that revolve around issues of oppression and power, race and gender, and moral ambiguity.

    • Artist: Kara Walker, American, born 1969
    • Medium: Painted laser-cut steel
    • Dates: 2006
    • Dimensions: 24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in. (61 x 97.2 x 228.6 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Contemporary Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 2008.53.1a-v
    • Edition: 16/20
    • Credit Line: Purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia
    • Rights Statement: © Kara Walker; Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
    • Caption: Kara Walker (American, born 1969). Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching, 2006. Painted laser-cut steel, 24 x 38 1/4 x 90 in. (61 x 97.2 x 228.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, 2008.53.1a-v. © Kara Walker; Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
    • Image: detail, 2008.53.1a-v_detail4_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
    • Record Completeness: Best (89%)
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