Norma, Kara Walker, London

Anna Coatman reviewed Kara Walker's exhibition Norma for Frieze Magazine. Coatman describes the preliminary work included in the exhibition
These paintings were accompanied by a series of 12 preliminary sketches, Tell Me Your Thoughts on Police Brutality ‘Miss Spank Me Harder’, revealing more about Walker’s process and providing thematic signposts. One lists the distinguishing features of high art (‘upper class’, ‘masculine’) vs. low art (‘low class’, ‘feminine’); underneath each category the artist has scribbled ‘That’s Me!’ Others appear to reference the series of killings and assaults that have fuelled the Black Lives Matter campaign. There’s a drawing of a black man in what looks like a body bag, under which all-too familiar phrase ‘unarmed black man’ is written. Another shows a naked black woman being straddled by a clothed white man, recalling the viral video footage of police officer Eric Casebolt wrestling a girl to the ground at a house party in Texas in 2015. The Idioms may look archaic, but these sketches grounded them firmly in the present. more

Kara Walker, Negress Notes 20 (I Thrive In Confinement), 2015

Kara Walker, Norma
Kara Walker, Masks
Kara Walker, Installation View


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