Professor Martin Irvine
CCTP 748: Media Theory and Meaning Systems
3 May 2015
The term black and what it means to be black has always been unstable psychically, culturally and politically. For Black artists, this fact remained especially true as they faced a sort of double-consciousness tug of war with their ethnic and professional selves. However, as the meaning behind blackness continued to evolve, these artists works acted as vehicles for redirecting Black imagery, narratives and thought. This paper examines the works of Kehinde Wiley and Kara Walker as interfaces to the empirical reality of African-Americans and catalysts for overdue conversations and conversions around race, sexuality, identity, and Black narratives. Furthermore, this examines how their works anachronistically feature once-popular artistic mediums and what dialogues occur within these frames.
In coming to understand the basis of cultural identity and even individual subjectivity, it is crucial to acknowledge that both principles as being derivative of a network of meaning systems. The idea of a person or group belonging to a racial or ethnic community rests on specific requisites that make an identity group what it is, and thus these meanings are influenced and defined by those within the community and others, particularly figures of authority and knowledge. Stepping even further into examination, the manner in which identity and narratives are portrayed through a medium has a substantial impact on the presented matter itself. Two contemporary African-American visual artists have not only reframed the identity and narratives of African-Americans through their work, but they have also methodically and intentionally utilized signature art styles, mediums and references to other artworks to further their cause. The purpose of this paper will be to dissect the aesthetic and thematic elements used by Kehinde Wiley and Kara Walker for the sake of discussing artistic combinatoriality and dialogism; draw dialogic connections between their works and previous pieces, determine what worlds and systems their works serve as an interface for; and finally, examine how Wiley and Walker’s works have changed the ideas of African-American narratives and identity – particularly masculinity and femininity.
- History of Baroque Art and Silhouettes
Richard Parmentier’s focus on C.S. Peirce’s theory of semiosis in Signs in Society: Studies in Semiotic Anthropology opens the door for discussing Wiley’s intentional use of Baroque-style backdrops, Walker’s inclusion of silhouettes and how these aesthetic elements lend themselves to the artwork while dialoging with its previous implementations. As Parmentier explains, Peirce’s knowledge-communication process “involves a relation of progressive adequation between two fundamentally opposed elements, ‘objects’ and ‘signs.’” However, as he continues, he states, “object and sign must be connected in such a way that the former ‘determines’ – specifies or specializes – the character of the latter which represents it.” In Wiley’s works, these two opposing signs are Baroquean art and African-American males, yet both serve as interfaces for broader meaning systems. Although Wiley is not the first artist to incorporate Baroque Era stylizations within his work, the combination of the era’s elaborate patterned details and African-American men was profound for an artist to undertake.
The term Baroque originates from the Italian word barocco, which, to philosophers during the Middle Ages, signified an obstacle of logic or a contorted, flawed cognitive process. This meaning carried on into the art world as a means of describing the bizarre nature of a visual piece that deviated from standards and proportions. As a counter to the Reformation Era and the idealized, harmonious tones of classicism and naturalism during the Mannerism Era, Baroque styles were intended to evoke sentimental and sensory reaction. Artifacts used deep, intense hues and often portrayed subjects in moments of action or unwavering portraiture stances. Though originally seen as a method of critical artistic degradation, Baroque art – particularly paintings – came to be associated with richness, grandeur, tension, vitality and emotional exuberance.. Many places of worship became sites of adornment and rich interior decoration, using this style as a vehicle to incite piety and devotion to the divine.
Though Wiley references an entire artistic movement in his works, Walker’s art alludes to a trended medium of the 18th and 19th centuries. The oppositional signs in Walker’s work are silhouettes and African-American race and sexuality narratives. Silhouette drawings can be traced back as far as 6,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt through temple drawings and tomb art, dedicated to the spirits of the dead. In Ancient Greece, ceramics and pottery featured silhouettes as a means of storytelling and conveying motifs, myths, significant happenings and emotions. The methodology behind practicing this art form was achieved by using a source of light to backlight subjects and etch their shadow on a wall or out of paper. Silhouettes, or shadow art –as it is sometimes referenced, was tabooed during the Middle Ages out of religious fear that portraying one’s shadow or allowing someone beneath you in society to do so was equal to jeopardizing and endangering the soul.
The term silhouette is credited to Louis XV’s Controller-General of Finance, Etienne de Silhouette, who found enjoyment in cutting “shadow portraits” out of black paper. Because of his notoriety for slivering the French budget during his tenure, the art practice became associated with cheapness; further adding the impression of silhouette being undertaking for those of the lower class. Moreover, shadow art became a preferred artistic avenue, as the European public scoffed the overtly ornamented artifacts of art, interior décor and architecture; they also became an alternative to traditional painted portraits, which were expediencies for the affluent. Silhouette drawing became a means of survival for the politically exiled in the French Revolution (1789-1848) and early American settlers during the 18th century. One particular artist, August Eduoart, created thousands of silhouette portraits of noble figures, politicians and professionals. 18th century portrayals in silhouette were docile and honorary, showcasing status and personality for posterity purposes.
In the cases of both Wiley and Walker, the subject matter displayed in their works derails from gentle, implicit or shallow topics. They surpass the convenience of well-off art collectors or mere aesthetic elaboration, but connect with common person’s story and character. Instead, their pieces engage in a dialogue with their preceding artistic references, as well as with the audience that views their innovative work.
- An Examination of Wiley’s Artistic Repertoire
Wiley’s first solo exhibition took place in 2002 and featured “Passing/Posing,” one of his premiere works after finishing his Master’s in Fine Arts at Yale. During an interview with National Public Radio, Wiley recalls the moment he stumbled upon a mug shot on the streets of Harlem and how it became the inspiration behind the series of portraits and his subsequent work:
“It was… an African-American man in his twenties that appeared sympathetic, attractive, and it had all his information on it – his name, his address, his social-security number and his infractions – and it made me think about portraiture in a radically different way… a type of marking, a recording of one’s place in the world in a time. And I began to start thinking about a lot of the portraiture that I had enjoyed from the eighteenth century and noticed the difference between the two: how one is positioned in a way that is totally outside their control, shut down and related to those in power, whereas those in the other were positioning themselves in states of stately grace and self-possession. And the first paintings of “Passing/Posing” were the merging of those two lines.”
The fusion of the two lines to which Wiley alludes epitomizes the theory of dialogism, introduced by Mikhail Bakhtin. As Professor Martin Irvine dissects Bakhtin’s concept, he says, “Every level of expression … is an ongoing chain or network of statements and responses… in which new statements presuppose earlier statements and anticipate future responses.” Another interpretation comes from Hobbs, who defines, “dialogism in terms of conflicting literary representations predicated on differences between the view of the speaking character or narrator in a piece of fiction and the author’s intention.” Merely putting these distinctive signs in the same vicinity or arena tells us two things: 1) a more clarified view of the networks from which they come can be examined and, 2) these signs – no matter how different – are inherently responsive to one another, or as Bakhtin says, “the listener becomes the speaker.” Different from that of Hegel’s notion of the dialectic, dialogic processes involve a listening and an examination of implicit or individual intentions; and while this exchange between signs may facilitate cooperation, closure and resolve is not guaranteed.
Understanding this, Wiley veers from confining his work to being blatantly political and instead channels his artistic motivation in connecting with various communities and tackling popular constructions of Black masculinity. As a part of his creative process, Wiley gives his art models the reins, allowing them to skim art books and choose the poses they wanted to recreate – an apolitical intent with political effects, since autonomous image creation is not often afforded to African-Americans males, frequently maligned in news media.
In Robert Hobbs’ essay, Looking B(l)ack: Reflections of White Racism, he states that Wiley “deconstructs rigid Western views of power as he establishes uneasy conjunction between the rich panoply of traditional European portraiture and the hip-hop alpha males he discovers on urban streets.” However, Wiley works on levels beyond placing the most unlikely of signs together in one space and dialogue. His intended combinatoriality playfully but meticulously uses an art style associated with grandeur, luxury and prosperity, as the backdrop, and places Black males at the foreground – a minute detail that speaks volumes.
Historically, in America, Black males have struggled to muster enough financial clout and stability, in hopes of establishing themselves in an economic system powered by White elites. The residue of the shattered financial dreams of Black Wall Street remains today as the success and prominence of Black-owned businesses pales in comparison to those of White-owned businesses. In addition, the racial-socioeconomic gap between Black and White men’s weekly earnings shows that the former make 75.6 percent of the latter’s income. The Black males character has undergone intense vilification and scrutiny, due to lingering rape myth rhetoric and theoretical alignments with marginality and savagery. Initially, perhaps due to its unfamiliar yet captivating nature, Wiley’s work often drew superficial commentary, reduced to the categorization of “hip hop meets classic painting.” Indeed, Wiley has been commissioned and called upon to frame musical greats and upcoming artists in ethereal lights, yet the bulk of his work elevates the character of common African-American subjects. Thankfully, as one of Wiley’s supporters, Jeffrey Deitch, explained, “A lot of Kehinde’s message is asserting a black presence in this largely white, male history of Western art,” giving little known subjects “a sense of iconic power and presence,” according to writer Andy Beta.
Aside from merging the worlds of African-Americans in urban environments and Baroque aesthetics, Wiley makes a point of purposely crafting features of his work to further its impact. The massive scale of Wiley’s work is a form of his intentionality, with some pieces measuring more than 9 feet long. Wiley credits the importance of dimensions to supplementing “modernism, bravado and chest beating” to the character of the subjects. The titles and content similarity between 18th century art pieces and Wiley’s work also reflect his aim to level the authority and awe of portrayed subjects. Wiley’s 2008 piece, James Quin, Actor mimics the work of British portrait painter William Hogarth. In Hogarth’s work of the same title, he depicts Quin in a theatrical pose and pays homage to the conventions of Baroque style, the actor’s importance signaled through his apparel and exuding an air of splendor. The subject in Wiley’s piece dons a similar facial expression, but instead of displaying gestures of delicacy and sensitivity like Quin, his chin is titled upward, insinuating an aura of belonging and unwavering confidence. Other remixed works include the religiously allusive Ecce Homo – mimicked after Anthony Van Dyck’s 17th century piece; Samuel Johnson – mirrored for Joshua Reynolds’ portraiture of the famed writer-critic-editor; and The Veiled Christ – a rendition of Giuseppe Sanmartino’s 1753 sculpture.
Paradoxically, the semiotic evolution of word Baroque is exemplary to that of African-American masculinity in the eyes of American society. As Paramentier explains, “…opposed to this presupposed object are forms of representation which stand for, substitute for, or exhibit the object in such a way that the next stage of comprehension will consist of a further developed representation of the same object.” With this in thought, the original denotation of Baroque signified an item with flaw or obscurity, but later came to be associated with being highly ornate or lavish. It’s clear that Wiley’s parallelism between two oppositional signs implies a conversation between micro-networks and signals an optimistic forecast of modern society’s perspective of Black masculinity. Given the oppressive skepticism embossed upon the Black male identity, Wiley’s depictions of the subjugated is not as much mystic or fantastic, as it is telling and insistent on the need to till the dialogic ground for representation equality amongst races and socioeconomic classes. By marrying two disseminating concepts, Wiley illustrates a clear interface into the everyday world of African-American subjects, creates regal, idealistic portrayals of African-Americans and simultaneously valorizes them – establishing them as worthy subjects of art and members of society.
- An Examination of Walker’s Work Using Silhouttes and Sugar
Alone, Walker’s anachronistic choosing of shadow art as a medium is not extraordinary; until it is realized what narratives are being depicted through the lens. Explicitly tackling issues of slavery, race and sexuality, Walker molds the once-admirable and innocent medium into a provocative, psychologically disquieting experience. This new use of silhouette triggers a dialogic conversation between Walker, the portrayed African-American subjects of her work and the shadow art consumer group of the 18th century. As history tells us, creating silhouettes was a practice for the lower-end of the socioeconomic scale and its product was an expenditure of the wealthier and even the noble. Detailing them in a proud, praiseworthy and admiring manner, silhouettes then commended and validated one’s humanity, existence, status and power. Walker steps in as a new narrative voice, and while she does not exclude the wealthy White actor from her displays, she balances the artistic-social atmosphere with the inclusion of the exploited and often muted tales of African-Americans.
Her first impression on the art world came in 1994 with her panoramic piece, “Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart.” The title precautions the audience of the dysfunction and disharmonious to be witnessed in the optic narrative, but the visuals supersede this warning. Featuring a seemingly innocent silhouette of a male soldier and his female Southern belle suitor, romancing under the moonlight, the narrative launches on a safe, comfortable note. Suddenly, upon further gazing, one realizes an additional set of limbs beneath the petticoat of the woman and just like that – the tale takes a dark turn. Beyond the romantic tale’s introductory juxtaposition to the classic tale of Gone With the Wind lies haunting shadows of a black child strangling a bird, a black girl fellating a young white boy on a hilltop and a black woman birthing two babies with the mere lift of a leg. The overt horror and disillusion visually etched through these artifacts of shadow art confronts the divide of the Black and White narratives of the antebellum South. The exactness of actors in Walker’s silhouettes help distinguish one race from another, due to the viewer’s assumed outside knowledge and exposure to Black racial stereotypes; characters with petticoats and tailored coattails signal well-off Whites, while frail, figures with protruding lips and plaited hair allude to enslaved Blacks with matching characteristic of minstrels. The subtlety of detail, like legs peaking beneath the belle’s dress signify more than just an eerie overlooked moment, it exemplifies the wretchedness of slavery that is swept under the “good ol’ days” rug of American Southern culture.
Walker’s subsequent shadow works disrupts the engrained standard behind silhouette art and dirties it up with ugly truths. In 1998, Walker released “Camptown Ladies,” a strong follow-up to her 1994 premiere, featuring all of the chaotic imagery and leaving behind none of the poignant narration. The title refers to a song made popular in the 1800s by blackface minstrelsy and the work features such characters. Images within this montage narrative include a rabbit-like character firing a rifle behind a running Black woman, who has a male jockey on her back with a whip and carrot in tow. Instances of newborn rituals, sexual groping and well-endowed Black women also make their way into the story, making strong implications for Black female sexuality being the piece’s central theme.
Similar to Wiley, the size of Walker’s exhibits is seldom successfully ignored. Enrapturing the audience in a series of rooms with nothing but black-and-white, nightmarish silhouettes, the works effectively throw viewers in the middle of a story of visual psychosis and discomfort. The panoramic aspect of her art also implies the inescapability and magnetic nature of the issues illustrated – no matter how temporally far off they may seem. Walker’s play with silhouettes and Black stereotypical views teases out additional meanings and mocks those that hinge on White racist paranoia. During a lecture at Virginia Commonwealth University, Walker pointed out, “When stereotypes attempt to take control of their own bodies, they can only do what they are made of, and they are made of the pathological attitudes of the Old South. Therefore, the racist stereotypes occurring in my art can only partake of psychotic activities.” Furthermore, Professor Michele Wallace describes Walker’s approach to characterizing the appropriation of blackface and submissive pretense to “a mocking of simplicity, naiveté and roughness of the so-called American primitive.” In this respect, Walker trivializes the said-resilience of problematic, racist stereotypes and archetypes placed on African-Americans, distancing herself from attempts to refresh stereotypes for the sake of creating uplifting art as done with the Black Arts Movement. Her reframing of silhouette-making also speaks to her feeling of being excluded from the fine art conversation and her mass disapproval from members of the art community. She uses satire and the idea of pluralistic narratives as a driver for displaying the black experience on canvas, asserting that some of the narratives break from cookie cutter standard and ooze with perversion. Therefore, her use of the silhouette is very methodical and fitting for the narratives she cuts; according to her, “The silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that’s also what stereotype does.” Even further, Walker iterates that her “engagement with the black arts movement was basically to send it up, to say my work has been about interracial desire, and it’s been about consorting with the man in a very brazen way .”
In 2014, Walker averted from her trademark usage of silhouettes and chose an equally mundane but dynamic medium – sugar – to create a larger-than-life sculpture of a crouching, bare breasted Black woman. The piece, lengthily titled “A Subtlety 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,” was housed at the former Domino Sugar refinery in the Williamsburg area of New York City. Recruited by the public art group Creative Time, Walker played with various concepts for the upcoming exhibit. The tantalizing aroma of the venue, along with personal research about “elaborate medieval sugar sculptures” called subtleties, sparked the blueprint for her biggest artistic undertaking yet. Measuring 35 feet tall and 75 feet long, “A Subtlety” hybridized a lioness body with Mammy-like caricature features (bandana included); and full breasts, a rotund derriere and prominent vulva perched for display and consequently, awe-filled commentary. The installation garnered wide discussion: from the exploitation of the Black female body to slavery to gentrification.
Returning to the steadfast and true theme of sexuality and race, Walker’s fusion of a Black woman and a Sphinx sends waves for discussion. The enormity of the sculpture juxtaposes that of the Sphinx that resides in Egypt and marks it as a praiseworthy landmark – even if it is temporary. Attracting spectators just as the Egyptian landmark, “A Subtlety” possesses implications of something to be praised, enamored with or admired; an abnormal reaction from the masses toward the Black female body. However, the line between admiration and fetish is thin and harps on the usual hypersexualization of Black women. Just like the miniature sugar sculptures created to appease the taste and fancies of medieval European royalty, Walker’s massive structure drew spectating crowds. Teetering on the edge, “A Subtlety” fuses two Black female stereotypes – the mammy and the vixen – and their conflicting expectation of the asexual and oversexualized is manifested and on display, front and center.
Walker’s decisiveness in using sugar to create this massive sculpture references the history of the sweet substance as a traded within the triangular slave trade. As a medium, sugar acts as an interface, unveiling the importance and connections it has to the work. Acknowledging that the Black body was once commoditized as something equivalent to consumable goods like sugar, spices, tobacco and other produce adds to the multiple dimension of Walker’s piece.
Surrounding the grand sculpture are various statues of small boy attendants, some of which gradually disintegrated throughout the exhibit’s duration. The stench of the old molasses became a resonating feature of the exhibit, further conveying the implicit meanings behind its creation. Not only does the rotting smell signify the ugliness and intense potency of systematic slave labor in America and the Caribbean – where sugar plantation flourished – but also the immediate problematic situation of gentrification. The site of Walker’s work is expected to be demolished to make way for a posh apartment complex, nested comfortably in an already improved-for-middle-class area of New York.
As with all of her pieces, Walker remained unfazed by skeptic’s queries about where her loyalties to the Black community lie. Throughout her career, Walker has undoubtedly reaped considerable outrage from critics and other artists. But as Kathy Halbriech, former director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, explains, “…if we do get angry, if we do get emotional, if we are confused, then she’s successful.” In essence, her work meets critics and oppressive forces at the dialogic table and challenges their reasoning and authority by upheaving standards for mending and discussing Black imagery.
Both artist want a resonating experience for their viewers, even if its at the expense of their comfort zone. As Wiley said during a lecture in Boston, “I want you as the viewer to be suspicious.” Meanwhile, Walker says, “I want the viewer to feel a giddy discomfort – the same sort that happens when I’m making the work.” Wiley steps up to the dialogic podium with a new sort of rebuttal to traditional, comfortable standards of art, as Walker shatters the rosy-colored glasses with which the world may use to discuss America’s tumultuous and tainted past with race and sexuality, while laughing in the faces of oppressors. Both Wiley and Walker’s work encourage provocation and an uprooting from complacency. Their agendas may not be outright politically charged, but they certainly exceed by keeping the audience on their toes and wanting more dialogue-inciting art.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Trans. Vern W. McGee. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1986. 87-90. Print.
“Baroque art and architecture.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web.
Beta, Andy. “Kehinde Wiley’s Global Vision on View.” Wall Street Journal (online) 20 Feb. 2015. Web.
Berry, Harrison. “Kehinde Wiley Discusses Bam Exhibit, The World Stage: Israel.” Boise Weekly 26 July 2013: 22. Print.
Coutier, Anne. “Something About Silhouettes.” Country Living Jan. 2009: 90. Print.
Dark Shadow: Walker’s silhouettes expose raw racial, sexuality.” The Daily Yomiuri. 28 April 2005. 1. Web. 1 May 2015.
Hobbs, Robert. “Looking B(l)ack: Reflections of White Racism.” 30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection. New York, N.Y.: Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 2008. 30–45. Print.
Hughes, Kathryn. “Southern Discomfort: Artist Kara Walker Continues to Shock and Awe.” Telegraph.co.uk. 9 Oct. 2013. Web.
Irvine, Martin. “Mikhail Bakhtin: Main Theories – Dialogism, Polyphony, Heteroglossia, Open Interpretation.” 2015. Web. 28 April 2015.
Kehinde Wiley, interview by Roy Hourst. “Young, Gifted and Black: Painter Kehinde Wiley.” National Public Radio. June 1, 2008.
Kino, Carol. “Kara Walker’s Thought-Provoking Art.” Wall Street Journal (online) 6 Nov. 2014. Web.
Margulis, Marlyn Irvin. “Silhouettes Stir the Collector’s Soul.” Antiques & Collecting Magazine Oct. 2002: 24–28. Print.
Parmentier, Richard. “Pierce Diverse for Nonintimates.” Signs in Society: Studies in Semiotic Anthropology. Ed. Thomas A. Sebeok. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994. 3-11. Print.
Postle, Martin. “James Quin, Actor c. 1739.” Tate. 2000. Web. 30 April 2015.
Silver, Leigh. “Kara Walker’s ‘A Subtlety’ Proves That Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet.” Complex Magazine. 13 May 2014. Web. 30 April 2015.
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers – First Quarter 2015.” 2015. PDF file.
Wallace, Michele. “The African Sublime.” 30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection. New York, N.Y.: Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 2008. 24–29. Print.
Wiley, Kehinde. James Quin, Actor. 2008. Oil on canvas. KehindeWiley.com. Web. 30 April 2015.
In-Text Citation Guide
 Parmentier, Richard. “Pierce Diverse for Nonintimates.” Signs in Society: Studies in Semiotic Anthropology. Ed. Thomas A. Sebeok. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994. 3-11. Print.
 “Baroque art and architecture.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web.
 Margulis, Marlyn Irvin. “Silhouettes Stir the Collector’s Soul.” Antiques & Collecting Magazine Oct. 2002: 24–28. Print.
 Coutier, Anne. “Something About Silhouettes.” Country Living Jan. 2009: 90. Print.
 Kehinde Wiley, interview by Roy Hourst. “Young, Gifted and Black: Painter Kehinde Wiley.” National Public Radio. June 1, 2008.
 Irvine, Martin. “Mikhail Bakhtin: Main Theories – Dialogism, Polyphony, Heteroglossia, Open Interpretation.” 2015. Web. 28 April 2015.
 Hobbs. “Looking B(l)ack: Reflections of White Racism.” 35.
 Bakhtin, Mikhail. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Trans. Vern W. McGee. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1986. 87-90. Print.
 Hobbs, Robert. “Looking B(l)ack: Reflections of White Racism.” 30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection. New York, N.Y.: Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 2008. 30–45. Print.
 U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers – First Quarter 2015.” 2015. PDF file.
 Beta, Andy. “Kehinde Wiley’s Global Vision on View.” Wall Street Journal (online) 20 Feb. 2015. Web.
 Beta. “Kehinde Wiley’s Global Vision on View.”
 Berry, Harrison. “Kehinde Wiley Discusses Bam Exhibit, The World Stage: Israel.” Boise Weekly 26 July 2013: 22. Print.
 Wiley, Kehinde. James Quin, Actor. 2008. Oil on canvas. KehindeWiley.com. Web. 30 April 2015.
 Postle, Martin. “James Quin, Actor c. 1739.” Tate. 2000. Web. 30 April 2015.
 Hughes, Kathryn. “Southern Discomfort: Artist Kara Walker Continues to Shock and Awe.” Telegraph.co.uk 9 Oct. 2013. Web.
 Kara Walker, lecture, School of the Arts, Virginia Commowealth University. 24 October 2000.
 Wallace, Michele. “The African Sublime.” 30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection. New York, N.Y.: Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 2008. 24–29. Print.
 Hughes, Kathryn. “Southern Discomfort: Artist Kara Walker Continues to Shock and Awe.”
 “Dark Shadow: Walker’s silhouettes expose raw racial, sexuality.” The Daily Yomiuri. 28 April 2005. 1. Web. 1 May 2015.
 Silver, Leigh. “Kara Walker’s ‘A Subtlety’ Proves That Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet.” Complex Magazine. 13 May 2014. Web. 30 April 2015.
 Halbriech showcased one of Walker’s first works and then hosted her first retrospective in 2004.
 Kino, Carol. “Kara Walker’s Thought-Provoking Art.” Wall Street Journal (online) 6 Nov. 2014. Web.
 Berry. “Kehinde Wiley Discusses Bam Exhibit, The World Stage: Israel.” 22.
 Hughes, Kathryn. “Southern Discomfort: Artist Kara Walker Continues to Shock and Awe.”