African-American artist Kara Walker (born 1969) has been acclaimed internationally for her candid investigations of race, sexuality and violence through the lens of reconceived historical tropes. She had her first solo show at The Drawing Center in New York City in 1994 and, at the age of 28 in 1997, was one of the youngest people to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. This publication documents Dust Jackets for the Niggerati--and Supporting Dissertations, Drawings Submitted Ruefully by Dr. Kara E. Walker, a major series of graphite drawings and hand-printed texts on paper that grew out of Walker’s attempts to understand how interpersonal and geopolitical powers are asserted through the lives of individuals. In scenes that range from the grotesque to the humorous to the tragic, these works vividly and powerfully explore the themes of transition and migration that run through the African-American experience. The accompanying essays take us through Walker’s saga of American experience--the dual streams of renewal and destruction that trace parallel lines through the last century’s rapid urbanization and the complementary emergence of a “New Negro” identity. Fully illustrated with reproductions of the entire series, and designed by award-winning design studio CoMa with Walker’s close collaboration, Dust Jackets for the Niggerati represents a major contribution to the career of one of our most significant and complex contemporary artists.
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