Krakow Witkin Gallery presents “Deep and High”, an online presentation by seven artists over seven weeks (week four: Kara Walker)

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 07/17/2020 - 08/05/2020
All Day

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Krakow Witkin Gallery

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Krakow Witkin Gallery presents

Deep and High
SAM DURANT, JENNY HOLZER, KAY ROSEN, ALLEN RUPPERSBERG,
LORNA SIMPSON, KARA WALKER AND FRED WILSON
(a presentation of seven works by seven artists over seven weeks / one work described each week)

June 17 – August 5, 2020

Week Four: Kara Walker

“Foote’s Gun-Boats Ascending to Attack Fort Henry, from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)” utilizes imagery of the 19th century “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War” and, in Walker’s titling, “annotates” the images with her own additions. These additions create a more rounded picture of who was involved in this Civil War-era scenario. The use of simplified, stereotypical silhouettes further complicates the scenario, as they are forms lacking fine detail and thus don’t accurately represent the individual (thus adding cartoonish, derogatory illustrations to a pre-existing and equally-inaccurate representation of what happened in the Civil War).

As to the specifics of the narrative of Foote’s gunboats attacking Fort Henry, there are perhaps two key elements that are most often overlooked.  First, it is important to know Andrew Hull Foote’s history. From 1849 to 1851, Foote commanded the USS Perry, off the African coast, actively suppressing the slave trade. This experience persuaded him to support the cause of abolition, and in 1854, he published a book, Africa and the American Flag. Back in the USA, he became a frequent lecturer on the Abolitionist cause. The second element of significance is the blurred lines of command during the military operation.  Foote was a Captain in the US Navy, but at the time of the attack on Fort Henry, he was actually serving under the US Army and working in close collaboration with Ulysses S. Grant.

While these historical facts can be considered merely that, they, when chosen by Walker, have poetic implications – abolitionist tendencies coming from seeing people at peace and people of different types (Navy, Army) working together for a common good. This is not to confuse the issue – the most significant element in Walker’s work is her silkscreen overlay of some sort of mound (earth, dirt, rubble, etc.) and a stylized silhouette of what could be seen as an African-American figure deep in the pile, moving.

Click here for more info on this piece, as well as a large, early drawing by Walker.
Click here for the “Deep and High” exhibition page.
Have questions? Please email us here.
Furthermore, the gallery is open by appointment with safety measures in place.
Please email to schedule a visit.

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KRAKOW WITKIN GALLERY
10 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
+1 617 262 4490  •  www.krakowwitkingallery.com  •  info@krakowwitkingallery.com

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