This thesis analyzes the reception of the work of contemporary artist Kara Walker and the critical debates it has engendered. Walker's work has received a mixed reception over the past twenty years: while she has won prestigious awards and received international acclaim, her work also enrages many African American artists and scholars who accuse her of perpetuating racist ideologies and insensitively mocking the history of suffering endured by slaves. I trace three major points within the critical reception of the artist's work: a letter writing campaign in 1997 initiated by the artist Betye Saar; the 2009 publication of the book, Kara Walker—No/Kara Walker—Yes/Kara Walker—?; and the veiling of Walker's work in 2012 in a New Jersey public library. I argue how Walker's strategy of employing "negative imagery" challenges the viewer to critically engage racist stereotypes on complex multifaceted levels.
|Advisor:||Kleinfelder, Karen L.|
|Commitee:||Shaked, Nizan, Simms, Matthew|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 53/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Art Criticism, Art history|
|Keywords:||Contemporary art, Negative imagery, Stereotypes, Walker, Kara|
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