98. Porgy & Bess, the libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, illustrated by Kara Walker.
Porgy & Bess, the libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, with 16 lithographs by Kara Walker, and a separate suite of four additional lithographs, November 2013.
My mother is a reserved individual with a strong undertow. My first introduction to Porgy & Bess was through her, although I learned nothing about the opera from her at the time. I must have been quite young, still living in Stockton, California, when she picked up from the library an album of the 1952 William Warfield and Leontyne Price version of the Gershwin opera. My memory is a little dark around the edges, but it seemed to me at the time there was something important about this music and Mom had a particularly private conversation happening with it. Her people came from South Carolina, and, while she never lived there herself, or talked to me about family in those days . . . .
Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, on November 26, 1969, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. She is known for her candidinvestigation of race, gender, sexuality, and violence through silhouetted figures that have appeared in numerous exhibitions worldwide. Her major survey show, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, premiered at The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, in February 2007 before traveling to ARC / Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, France; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and elsewhere. Other recent solo exhibitions have taken place at the Art Institute of Chicago (2013) and Camden Arts Centre, London (2013). She participated in the Venice International Biennale in 2007 and was the United States representative to the São Paulo Biennial in 2002. She is represented by Sikkema-Jenkins & Co. in New York City.
Walker is the recipient of many awards including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award in 1997, the Deutsche Bank Prize in 2000, and United States Artists Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship in 2008. In 2012, she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work is included in numerous museums and public collections including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery, London; the Centro Nazionale per le Arti Contemporanee, Rome; Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She lives and works in New York City.
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