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

Wed4Aug

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Kuratorinnenführung in der Ausstellung «Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be»

Mit der Kuratorin Anita Haldemann Kosten: CHF 5

Thu5Aug

Neubau
17:00–17:45

Inspired by Kara Walker

Führung zu aktuellen weiblichen Positionen im Kunstmuseum Basel. Kosten: 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

Wed25Aug


09:45–10:05

Instagram Live-Führung – Kara Walker

 

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Fokusführung in der Ausstellung «Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be»

Führung zum Thema alte und neue Meister im Werk von Kara Walker – Anita Haldemann im Gespräch mit Ariane Mensger über die Künstlerin. Kosten: CHF 5

Sat28Aug

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

Wed1Sep

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Performativer Rundgang durch die Ausstellung «Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be»

Zur Ausstellung von Kara Walker wird viel gesagt. Im Rundgang werden Reaktionen, Anekdoten und Kommentare im Ausstellungsraum wiedergegeben. Welche Wertevorstellungen und Haltungen manifestieren sich in den verschiedenen Stimmen und was offenbaren sie? Kosten: CHF 5

Sat4Sep

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

Sun5Sep

Neubau
15:00–16:00

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

Costs: CHF 5

Tue7Sep

Neubau
12:30–13:00

Rendez-vous am Mittag – Black Art Matters!

In der Ausstellung «Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything A Star Longs to Be» Kosten: Eintritt

Wed8Sep


18:30–19:30

Dessin catalyseur, dessin cataclysmique: le brio graphique de Kara Walker – Conférence de Vanina Géré

Vanina Géré est specialiste en histoire de l'art contemporain américain. Elle est l'auteure de «Les mauvais sentiments – L'art de Kara Walker», paru aux presses en 2019. La participation est gratuite. En cooperation avec L' Alliance Française de Bâle.

Sat11Sep

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

Wed15Sep


18:15–19:45

The Refused in Art

Lecture by Prof. Darby English (Professor University of Chicago, Consulting Curator MoMA, New York). In cooperation with Universität Basel / eikones. Free entry

 

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Kuratorinnenführung – Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be

Guided Tour in English with the assistant curator Noura Johnson. Costs: Entry + CHF 5

Tue21Sep

Neubau
12:30–13:00

Rendez-vous am Mittag – Kara Walker

In der Ausstellung «Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be». Mit der wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiterin Noura Johnson. Kosten: Eintritt

Sat25Sep

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

Sun26Sep

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

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