The Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) at Rollins College presents its winter 2015 exhibition, Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), which demonstrates Cornell’s programming focus on fostering social and cultural dialogue.
This exhibition presents Kara Walker’s 2005 portfolio of 15 large-scale prints of enlarged illustrations from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, a compilation of news reports about the war first published in 1866, over which Walker superimposes her now iconic black silhouette figures of stereotypical and hyperbolized African Americans. The print portfolio marks the first time that Walker placed her silhouetted forms in direct dialogue with historic imagery, ultimately challenging the racial history and historiography of the United States.
This powerful series includes the work Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats, depicting a historical scene from Harper’s of a large and exuberant crowd racing to a riverfront to welcome the arrival of Federal gun-boats. The scene is interrupted by a silk-screened silhouette of an African American woman hovering above the picture plane as a shadow-like specter, almost entirely concealing the arriving ships and appearing to run in the opposite direction.
To complement the prints, the installation features select Civil War-era illustrations by Winslow Homer that were created for Harper’s Weekly, drawn from CFAM’s collection. This presentation of the prints at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is the culmination of a course taught at Rollins College entitled, Exhibition Difference: Diversity and Visual Culture in the 21st Century, taught by curator Amy Galpin and professor Kimberly Dennis, in which the students wrote research papers about each of Walker’s prints, exploring concepts of identity theory, and participated in the realization of the exhibition.
The portfolio is a gift of Barbara and Ted Alfond, 1968 graduates of Rollins College. Along with the Walker prints, the Alfonds have recently given works by Hank Willis Thomas, Isaac Julien, and Richard Mosse, among others. The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art is currently showcased at the Alfond Inn, Winter Park, Florida.
This exhibition was made possible, in part, by the Director’s Circle of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum; the CFAM General Exhibition and the Jessie and Eugene Drey Exhibition funds; and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is generously funded by Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.
Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969. She received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. The artist is best known for exploring the complicated intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Her work has been widely exhibited at museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College is the only teaching museum in the greater Orlando area. The Museum’s broad scope collection, recognized as one of the largest and most distinguished in Florida, includes more than 5,000 objects ranging from antiquity through contemporary eras, including rare Old Master paintings and a comprehensive collection of prints, drawings, and photographs. In 2013 the Museum forged a partnership with The Alfond Inn—a visionary philanthropic boutique hotel owned by Rollins College, whose proceeds help fund student scholarships—to create a satellite exhibition space for the Museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art.
CFAM public tours:
Fridays at 1pm at the Alfond Inn Free docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum Private tours for groups of ten or more: contact CFAM Education.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789-4499
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–4pm,