October Files: Kara Walker

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Selected texts that survey the full range of Kara Walker’s artistic practice, emphasizing the work itself rather than the debates and controversies around it.

Kara Walker’s work and its borrowings from an iconography linked to the fantasized and travestied history of American chattel slavery has been theorized and critiqued in countless texts throughout her career. Exegeses of her work have been shaped by the numerous debates on the very debates it generated. How, then, do we approach a work that has been covered by such “thick theoretical layers”?

This collection is unique in emphasizing Walker’s work itself rather than the controversies surrounding it. These essays and interviews survey Walker’s artistic practice from her early works in the 1990s through her most recent ones, from her famous silhouette projects to her lesser-known drawings and lantern shows.

 Vanina Gere

Paperback, MIT Press, 2022
264 p,
 6 × 9 in.