Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker's Tales of Slavery and Power opens at UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center

2 February - 30 April 2017

 

The University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) at UMass Amherst is proud to present Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power.

 

Kara Walker has become one of the most widely-known and controversial artists working today. Exploring the painful history of American race relations through large-scale silhouette installations, Walker’s work transforms historical materials, literary sources and popular culture, challenging us to access buried emotions about our nation’s past. In her hands, the medium of silhouette becomes a tool for examining the traumatic legacy  of slavery. 

This exhibition brings together 60 works in a variety of mediums, from printmaking (such as lithograph, etching with aquatint, photogravure, linocut, and screen-print), to wall murals, metal sculpture and shadow puppetry. The exhibition was curated by Jessi Di Tillio, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon. All works in this exhibition come from the Portland, Oregon-based collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. 

Collector Jordan Schnitzer has said, “Kara Walker is one of the most important artists in our collection. Her art needs to be seen and the themes need to be examined. No artist today does a better job of forcing the viewers to deal with stereotypes, gender, and race.”

The exhibition includes three narrative series — The Emancipation Approximation (1999–2000),  Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War: Annotated  (2005), and  An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters  (2010) — along with numerous individual works that underline Walker's use of Antebellum and Reconstruction-era imagery and themes. Her narratives unfold in elaborate tableaux that tackle issues of race, slavery, sexuality, identity, and power. The works, which are inventive and painful but also satirical and humorous, were selected for the exhibition to display the range of approaches Walker uses to explore the legacy of slavery.

 

Walker explained, “One theme in my artwork is the idea that a Black subject in the present tense is a container for specific pathologies from the past and is continually growing and feeding off those maladies....” By looking carefully at a selection of Walker’s projects in different media, this exhibition emphasizes the interface between technique and concept in her work. Walker’s use of historically inflected techniques investigates the question: “How is contemporary identity shaped and affected by the imagery from the past?” 

 

Read more

 

Image: Kara Walker, The Emancipation Approximation (Scene #18), 1999 – 2000; Screen print; 44 x 34 in.; Edition of 20. Collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation,
© 2016 Kara Walker

Posted 31 January 2017

Victoria Miro

16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
t: 44 (0)20 7336 8109

info@victoria-miro.com

View map

Victoria Miro Mayfair

14 St George Street

London W1S 1FE

t: 44 (0)20 3205 8910

info@victoria-miro.com
View map

Victoria Miro Venice

Il Capricorno, San Marco 1994,

Calle Drio La Chiesa

30124 Venice, Italy

t: +39 041 523 3799 

info@victoria-miro.com
View map

Opening Times

London: Tuesday - Saturday: 10.00am - 6.00pm 

Monday: By appointment

 

Venice: Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 1pm & 2 - 6pm

 

We are also closed on Sundays, bank holiday weekends and public holidays.


Admission free. No tickets required. Large groups should please contact the gallery in advance to book a visit.

 

Enquiries

All general enquiries should be sent to  
info@victoria-miro.com

Victoria Miro does not accept unsolicited artist applications.

Subscribe

Staff contact details

Directors

Victoria Miro
Glenn Scott Wright
W.P. Miro

Sales

Director of Sales and Performance
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Director, Mayfair
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0494
Fabian Lang
Director, Venice
Direct line: +39 041 523 3799
Elke Seebauer
Managing Director, Venice
Direct line: +39 041 523 3799
Anna Fisher
Director of Sales
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0905
Oliver Miro
Director of Sales
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0496
Mary Eleanor McNicholas
Sales Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0498

Exhibitions

Erin Manns
Director of Exhibitions - Head of Department
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0423
Rachel Taylor
Director of Exhibitions
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0431
Mary Taylor
Production Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0424
Isabelle Young
Exhibitions Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109

Communications

Kathy Stephenson
Director of Communications
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0422
Martin Coomer
Head of Editorial and Digital Content
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0915
Marisa J. Futernick
Digital and Social Media Consultant
Direct line: +1 (860) 549-2576
Hannah van den Wijngaard
Photography, Rights and Reproduction Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0428
Press and Marketing Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0912

Operations

Robert Holzberger
Director of Operations and Events
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0495
Adeline Guy
Head Registrar
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7324 0916
Jayne Archard
Registrar
Direct line: +44 (0)207 324 0910
Alice Panton
Registrar
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0904
Clare Rowe
Paper Archive and Records Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0493
Vix Moore
Front of House and Events Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Elina Pelvanidi
Front of House Coordinator (Wharf Road)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Louis Blanc-Francard
Gallery Coordinator (Mayfair)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 3205 8910
Philip Ewe
Library & Archive Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109

Technical Services

David Wood
Technical Operations and Buildings Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0900
Jack Fenton
Buildings Coordinator
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0914
Jon Glazier
Head Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0425
Gemma Geraghty
Senior Technician
Rob Phillips
Senior Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0492
Ross Taylor
Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0492

Finance

Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109