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Kara Walker
University of Oregon, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Eugene, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Kara Walker, "Untitled (Scene #18 from Emancipation Approximation portfolio)," 1999, 44x34". © 1999–2000, Kara Walker

Continuing through April 6, 2014

Above and beyond its historical and sociocultural resonance, there are many reasons for the enduring appeal of Kara Walker’s work: Its stylistic consistency, dichromatic elegance, and graphic commingling of shadow-theater traditions, illustration, cartoon, mural, and fine art. But perhaps even more, it owes to the reactions it provokes from the viewer — a mélange of revulsion, intrigue, and complicity. These reactions are apt to bubble forth for anyone viewing this exhibition of Walker’s prints, drawn from the collection and family foundation of Oregon-based businessperson and art collector Jordan Schnitzer. 

Central to the exhibition is the invigoratingly installed 27-screenprint series "The Emancipation Approximation," which reads as a left-to-right narrative across an entire gallery wall. The vignettes in this series are classic Walker: Stirring motifs of violence, sexuality, and loaded racial cues are incorporated into a thoroughly piquing, discombobulating whole. Thirty-two additional prints and an engaging video presentation round out the exhibition, ably curated by Jessi DiTillio.

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