Sunday, May 11, 2014
Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory - 11 May
Okay for those that came in late the Big Lamington team spent quite a few years in NYC back in the day. I am excited to be back for a visit and even more excited to be seeing some art. Despite the fact I was one of those types that liked to stay on the island I find myself on the J Train humming the infamous chant of Biggie Smalls ... "Where Brooklyn at? Where Brooklyn at?" ... because we are going to deepest darkest Williamsburg for the next instalment of the Big Lamington International Art Series 2014.
We are off to see Kara Walker. A very well known US artist and one that is featured in the Big Lamington collection through the multiple that she produced for the Norton Christmas project back in the day. She is known for her cut-paper silhouettes and tableaus which discuss power and race, especially as it has to do with slavery and the south. For her Creative Time project (more here) she has 'confected' a work called 'A Subtlety' or the Marvelous Sugar Baby. This is meant as "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". All good. What is it exactly. Well it is a dirty great big sphinx like creation made from foam I gather but coated in white sugar which Kara has sculpted with a hot iron to put the shape into it. Is anyone else seeing the connection I am? Notorious B.I.G., a Big "Negress as Sphinx" (as the NY Times calls it), and the Big Lamington. This was meant to be! This place smells, unsurprisingly, like a lolly factory. Burnt sugar. And watch your step, there are also a dozen or so smaller boys made from molasses which appear to be melting sticky stuff all over the floor. After the long wait to get in the crowd doesn't waste any time and it is a shitfight to get into the prime selfie spots (which are right in front of the breasts and right at the back just in front of her front bottom!). What a great day out. Props to Creative Time who put this on. They do great stuff and I reckon something similar would be great in Sydney.
Points: well, there is only one thing going on here so best on ground to Kara Walker. What a crazy monumental work, only open 3 days a week for a month or so and then it is all coming down. Would love to see her out in Australia. MCA / AGNSW, take notes.