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Kara Walker, "Scene of McPherson's Death," from "Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War," 2005; offset lithography and screenprint. Collection Daum Museum of Contemporary Art.

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

January 31 - May 24, 2015 Admission

This occasion will mark the exhibition debut of a recent, significant addition to the Daum’s permanent collection, Kara Walker’s series of 15 lithographs and screenprints entitled Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2005). Each of the large-scale prints in Walker’s portfolio began with an enlargement, using offset lithography, of a woodcut plate from the 1866 book Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War. Each of these images was then overlaid with Walker’s characteristic silhouetted figures rendered with solid black silkscreen. Walker uses a variety of strategies to break in, cover over, or otherwise intervene within the narrative of the woodcuts, usurping the images’ original dramatic purposes in favor of one of her own invention.

This print series marked the first time Walker united her trademark silhouettes with the type of historical documentation that influenced the development of her aesthetics. She is well regarded for her technique of cut-paper silhouettes, creating satirically subversive compositions that boldly contest attitudes toward race, gender, violence, and received cultural truths.