Domino Sugar Factory, New York, United States 10 May 2014 - 06 Jul 2014
Creative Time presents the first large-scale public project by Kara Walker. Sited in the sprawling industrial relics of Brooklyn’s legendary Domino Sugar Factory, Walker’s physically and conceptually expansive work will respond to both the building and its history, exploring a radical range of subject matter and marking a major departure from her practice to date.
As is her tradition, Walker has given this work a title that is at once poetic and descriptive. It is:
At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker Has Confected:
Or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant
Creative Time Chief Curator Nato Thompson states: “We are incredibly excited to work with Kara Walker, an artist whose provocative, sometimes controversial, and always compelling work, continues to challenge us. Walker’s new work, created especially for installation in the Domino building, will astonish visitors with its visual and conceptual richness.”
The focus of A Subtlety is a colossal, sugar-coated, sphinx-like figure that presides over the cavernous, 30,000-square-foot space. Measuring some 75.5-feet long, 35.5 feet high, and 26 feet wide, the majestic figure towers over her surroundings and evokes a multiplicity of meanings and references, from raw sexual power, to oppression, to empire, to the historically inextricable role of slavery in the sugar economy, and much more.
Brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, rum, sugar baby, sugar cookie, sugar daddy—seems we all need a little sugar! But wait! There’s more to sugar than meets the eye or the tongue.
On the occasion of her first large-scale public project, presented by Creative Time at the legendary Domino refinery, Jad Abumrad and Kara Walker will explore the history and meaning of sugar. Their conversation will follow the route of the triangle trade, from Africa to America, from ancient monuments to modern appetites, from behemoth, crumbling temples of industry to the laborers and slaves often unseen in those histories. It’s a history of sugar, sex, sweetness, power, and the secret mystery at the center of the exhibition.
New York-based artist Kara Walker is best known for cut-paper silhouettes and tableaus that complicate traditional narratives of power and repression. Walker’s provocative work, which has taken the form of drawing, painting, text-based work, video, film, performance, and cyclorama, retells historic moments, such as slavery in the Antebellum South and Hurricane Katrina, and has frequently been the subject of controversy. She has received numerous awards, perhaps most notably in 1997, when she was the second-youngest person ever to receive a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.”
Since 1974, Creative Time has presented the most innovative art in the public realm. The New Yorkbased nonprofit has worked with thousands of artists to produce more than 335 groundbreaking public art projects that have ignited the public’s imagination, explored ideas that shape society, and engaged millions of people around the globe. Creative Time seeks to convert the power of artists’ ideas into works that inspire social change and stimulate public dialogue on timely issues, while initiating a dynamic conversation among artists, sites, and audiences. A vanguard presenter of public art in New York, Creative Time today also presents national and global projects and initiatives, making it the only public arts organization with programs that have reached from New York to New Orleans, Haiti to Hanoi, and Dubai to Denver to outer space. These projects further Creative Time’s belief in the importance of artists in society and the power of art to raise consciousness, expose injustices, and imagine a better world.
Domino Sugar Factory Kent Avenue at South 1st Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York