Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War

KaraWalker
Kara Walker, Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats, from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005. Offset lithography and silk screen. The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. © 2015 Kara Walker.

Rollins College
Kara Walker: Harper's Pictorial History
of the Civil War (Annotated)
January 17–April 5, 2015

Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Rollins College
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789-4499
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–4pm,
Saturday–Sunday noon–5pm


The Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) at Rollins College announces its winter 2015 exhibition, Kara Walker: Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), which demonstrates Cornell's programming focus on fostering social and cultural dialogue. "We are pleased to showcase the work of an internationally renowned artist like Kara Walker, whose provocative explorations of race, gender, sexuality, and historical archetypes are so important to consider, especially on a college campus," says Bruce A. Beal Director Ena Heller. This exhibition presents Kara Walker's 2005 portfolio of 15 large-scale prints of enlarged illustrations from Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War, a compilation of news reports about the war first published in 1866, over which Walker superimposes her now iconic black silhouette figures of stereotypical and hyperbolized African Americans. The print portfolio marks the first time that Walker placed her silhouetted forms in direct dialogue with historic imagery, ultimately challenging the racial history and historiography of the United States.

This powerful series includes the work Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats, depicting a historical scene from Harper's of a large and exuberant crowd racing to a riverfront to welcome the arrival of Federal gun-boats. The scene is interrupted by a silk-screened silhouette of an African American woman hovering above the picture plane as a shadow-like specter, almost entirely concealing the arriving ships and appearing to run in the opposite direction.

To complement the prints, the installation features select Civil War-era illustrations by Winslow Homer that were created for Harper's Weekly, drawn from CFAM's collection. This exhibition dovetails with Rollins College's Department of Art and Art History's specialized freshman seminar titled "Exhibiting the Self in 21st Century Visual Culture," taught by curator Amy Galpin and professor Kimberly Dennis, in which the students wrote research papers about each of Walker's prints, exploring concepts of identity theory, and participated in the realization of the exhibition.

The portfolio is a gift of Barbara and Ted Alfond, 1968 graduates of Rollins College. Along with the Walker prints, the Alfonds have recently given works by Hank Willis Thomas, Isaac Julien, and Richard Mosse, among others. The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art is currently showcased at the Alfond Inn, Winter Park, Florida.

This exhibition was made possible, in part, by the Director's Circle of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum; the CFAM General Exhibition and the Jessie and Eugene Drey Exhibition funds; and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is generously funded by Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.