Kara Walker

A Black Hole is Everything a Star Longs to Be

Neubau / 05.06.–26.09.2021 / Curator: Dr Anita Haldemann




Artist Talk

Kara Walker in conversation with Dr Anita Haldemann, head of the Kupferstichkabinett at the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Watch

Telling Bodies

Cooperation with the Ballet Basel

As part of the exhibition and under the direction of Richard Wherlock (*1958, British dancer and choreographer, director of Ballett Basel since 2001), members of the ensemble present newly created choreographies inspired by Kara Walker's drawings.

Dates & Information

Films by Kara Walker

On the occasion of the exhibition, the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart is showing two films by Kara Walker. Both films are the result of the artist's research on the U.S. National Archives Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.

More info



The exhibition is supported by:

  • BLKB
  • Freiwilliger Museumsverein Basel
  • Anonymous Patrons
  • Isaac Dreyfus-Bernheim Stiftung
  • Foundation for the Kunstmuseum Basel



Throwing open the doors to her personal archive that she has closely guarded for the past twentyeight years, Kara Walker (b. 1969) presents more than 600 drawings from her studio. The Kupferstichkabinett Basel displays these treasures together with brand-new works by the world-famous American artist in her first extensive solo exhibition in Switzerland.

Walker, who first caused a stir with panoramic silhouettes in 1994, is one of the most prominent artists working in America today. Provocative and obscene but aesthetically appealing scenes executed with extraordinary technical finesse bring racism, gender, sexuality, and violence into focus. Surveying American history from slavery to Barack Obama’s presidency, Walker has no patience for political correctness and does not propose a conciliatory view of the past, instead prodding the viewer to question established narratives and entrenched myths. Unsparing in her analysis of conflicts that have never been resolved, she examines the genesis of collective self-images as well as her own identity.

Paper is a central medium in Walker’s creative practice. Sketches and notes suggest intimate self-expression and authentic responses to issues of the day. Drawing and the written word are perfect vehicles for satire and caricature, for pamphleteering and subversion. The rich diversity of the works on paper illustrate her command of her subjects, the agility of her imagination in inventing characters and unexpected metamorphoses, and the poise with which she privileges narrative ambiguity over overt messaging.

The abundance of drawings reveals that Walker deftly avails herself of a wide range of styles: one recognizes Goya’s light-dark contrasts, James Ensor’s vibrant line, or Hogarth’s flair for cartoonish emphasis. Her most recent works, by contrast, prominently feature instances of old masterly white heightening on tinted paper and even colored crayons. The echoes of historic art raise the question of Walker’s influences and how an African-American artist adds to the concepts of art history.

*An exhibition by Kunstmuseum Basel in collaboration with Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and De Pont Museum, Tilburg*








Artist Talk

Kara Walker in conversation with Dr Anita Haldemann, head of the Kupferstichkabinett at the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Watch

Telling Bodies

Cooperation with the Ballet Basel

As part of the exhibition and under the direction of Richard Wherlock (*1958, British dancer and choreographer, director of Ballett Basel since 2001), members of the ensemble present newly created choreographies inspired by Kara Walker's drawings.

Dates & Information

Films by Kara Walker

On the occasion of the exhibition, the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart is showing two films by Kara Walker. Both films are the result of the artist's research on the U.S. National Archives Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.

More info



The exhibition is supported by:

  • BLKB
  • Freiwilliger Museumsverein Basel
  • Anonymous Patrons
  • Isaac Dreyfus-Bernheim Stiftung
  • Foundation for the Kunstmuseum Basel



Events for this exhibition

Tue15Jun

Neubau
12:30–13:00

Rendez–vous am Mittag – Kara Walker

Mit der Kuratorin Anita Haldemann. Kosten: Eintritt

Wed16Jun


09:45–10:05

Instagram Live-Führung – Kara Walker

Mit der Kunstvermittlerin Aïcha Revellat

 

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Kuratorinnenführung – Kara Walker

Mit Anita Haldemann. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Mon21Jun


17:00–17:20

FACEBOOK LIVE-FÜHRUNG IN DER AUSSTELLUNG «kARA wAlker»

Mit der Kunstvermittlerin Aïcha Revellat

Wed23Jun


09:45–10:05

Instagram Live-Führung – Kara Walker

Mit der Kunstvermittlerin Maja Baumgartner

Thu24Jun

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
11:00–12:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

 

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
16:00–17:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

Fri25Jun

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
11:00–12:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

 

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
16:00–17:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

Sat26Jun

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
11:00–12:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

 

Hauptbau
14:00–16:00

Kinderworkshop –Einmal Rückwärts durch den Raum

Eine mündliche Weitergabe von Geschichte wird in Bezug auf Kara Walkers Ausstellung nachgezeichnet und selbst erlebt. Kosten: CHF 15 mit Familienpass CHF 10

 

Neubau
15:00–16:00

Führung in der Ausstellung «Kara Walker. A black hole is everything a star longs to be»

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

 

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
16:00–17:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

Sun27Jun

AUSVERKAUFT!

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Telling Bodies

Eine Kooperation des Ballett Theater Basel und des Kunstmuseums Basel

Tänzer*innen des Ballett Basel präsentieren Choreographien, die von Kara Walkers Werk inspiriert sind. Leitung: Richard Wherlock

 

Neubau
15:00–16:00

Visite Guidée en Français «Kara Walker. A black hole is everything a star longs to be»

Frais: Entrée+ CHF 5

Mon28Jun


17:00–17:20

Facebook Live-Führung – Kara Walker

MIT DER Kuratorin Anita Haldemann

Sat3Jul

Neubau
15:00–16:00

Führung in der Ausstellung «Kara Walker»

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sat24Jul

Neubau
15:00–16:00

Visite Guidée en français «Kara Walker. A Black Hole is everything A star longs to be»

FRAIS: ENTRÉE + CHF 5

Sun1Aug

Neubau
15:00–16:00

Guided Tour in English «Kara Walker. A black hole is everything a star longs to be»

Costs: Entry + CHF 5

Thu5Aug

Neubau
17:00–17:45

Inspired by Kara Walker

Führung zu aktuellen weiblichen Positionen im Kunstmuseum Basel. Kosten: Eintritt 5 CHF

Sat7Aug

Neubau
15:00–16:00

FÜHRUNG IN DER AUSSTELLUNG «Kara Walker. A black hole is everything a star longs to be»

KOSTEN: EINTRITT + CHF 5

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