Kara Walker (American, b.1969) is an African American artist who works across many media, exploring controversial themes of race, gender, sexuality, and violence. She is best known for her appropriation of the silhouette, which she has used in room-sized installations, sculptures, and smaller works on paper. Born in California, Walker moved to Georgia at the age of 13, when her father—artist Larry Walker—accepted a teaching position at Georgia State University. Walker received her BFA from the Atlanta College of Art, and went on to earn a MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994.

Walker’s work illustrates and overlays racial stereotypes of the past and present; her work not only addresses slavery and racial discrimination in the Antebellum South, but also raises awareness to the intrinsic bigotry that still exists throughout the United States. At age 28, Walker became the youngest person to accept the MacArthur Foundation Scholarship, an honor that was as prestigious as it was controversial. Many African American artists have spoken out against Walker’s work, most notably Betye Saar , who argues that Walker’s use of physiognomic stereotypes further supports such bias, rather than attack it. Even amidst controversy and criticism, Walker’s art has been exhibited at major institutions, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 2002, Walker was appointed as the United States representative to the São Paolo Biennale in Brazil.


Born in Stockton, CA
B.F.A. in Painting/Printmaking, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA
Recipeint, Awards of Excellence II, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
M.F.A. in Painting/Printmaking, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Recipient, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant
Recipient, The Lucelia Artist Award, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Lives and works in New York, NY


Pandora's Box, Dunlop Art Gallery, Saskatchewan, Canada
Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
The Old Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX
Freedom: American Sculpture, The Hague Sculpture 2008, The Hague, The Netherlands
The Black Road, CAC Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; ARC/ Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Las Vegas Collects Contemporary, Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Förlust/Loss, WANÅS Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden
Geopolitics of the Animation, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Sevilla, Spain
Women’s Work: Contemporary Women Printmakers from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, OR
Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970, The Spelman; College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
The Feminine Mysterious, Red Dot Contemporary, West Palm Beach, FL
Haunted Screens, UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands- Records, Miscellaneous Papers, National Archives M809 Roll 23, Search for ideas supporting the Black Man as a work of Modern Art / Contemporary Painting; a death without end, and an appreciation of the Creative Spirit of Lynch Mobs-New work, Kara Walker, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, NY
Don't Look: Contemporary Drawings from an Alumna's Collection; Martina Yamin, class of 1958; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley, MA
Taking Aim: Selections from the Elliot L. Perry Collection, RClough-Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
Contemporary, Cool and Collected, The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Momentary Momentum: Animated Drawings, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London, UK
52nd International Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Repicturing the Past, Picturing the Present, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Global Feminisms, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Contemporary Art at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Take 2: Women Revisiting Art History, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
Fantasmagoria, Fundacion ICO, Madrid, Spain
Tracing Shadows, The Israel Museum, The Ruth Young Wing, Jerusalem, Israel
Once upon a Time: The Contemporary Fable, Arcos, Museo d’arte Contemporanea, Sannio Campania, Italy
Meditations in an Emergency, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI
Into Me / Out of Me, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery, The New York Historical Society, New York, NY
The Bong Show or This Is Not a Pipe, curated by Beverly Semmes, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, NY
Brighton Photo Biennial: Voodoo Macbeth, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, UK
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. New York, NY
Kara Walker at the Met: After the Deluge, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
New York, New York: Fifty Years of Art, Architecture, Cinema, Performance, Photography and Video, Grimaldi Forum Monaco, Monte Carlo
Black Alphabet: Contexts of Contemporary African American Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland
Fables, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Liquid Paper, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
Surprise! Surprise! ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, UK
Into Me/Out of Me, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY
Rethinking Nordic Colonialism, A Postcolonial Exhibition Project in Five Acts, Act 1: Reykjavik, Iceland
Down By Law, a Wrong Gallery project for the 2006 Whitney Biennial: Day for Night, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Dark, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Blind Date: New Acquisitions of the Deutsche Bank Collection, Prelate’s residence of the former Benedictine Monastary and Galerie Kunstforum, Altes Haus, Seligenstadt, Germany
Skowhegan 60 Years: School of Painting and Sculpture, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
All the Best: The Deutsche Bank Collection and Zaha Hadid, The Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Song of the South, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA
Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico
Kara Walker: Testimony, Brent Sikkema, New York, NY (solo)
The World is a Stage, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Site Santa Fe's Fifth International Biennial, Santa Fe, NM
Monument to Now: The Dakis Joannou Collection, The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
Grub for Sharks: A Concession to the Negro Populace, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
Dana Schutz, Amy Sillman, Kara Walker, Brent Sikkema, New York, NY
Provocations: Selections from the Permanent Collection,The Bronx Museum of Art, New York, NY
Nous Venons en Paix..., Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Centro Nazionale per le Arti Contemporanee, Rome, Italy
Narratives of a Negress: Kara Walker, Tang teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (solo)
Kara Walker: Drawings, Brent Sikkema, New York, NY (solo)
Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Tempo, MoMAQNS, New York, NY
Telling Tales: Narrative Impulses in Recent Art,Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
Nat Turner's Revelation (an Important Lesson from our Negro Past You will Likley Forget to Remember), Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany (solo)
An Abbreviated Emancipation,The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI (solo)
Slavery!, Slavery!, 25th International Biennial of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (solo)
Kara Walker, Mannheimer Kunstverein, Mannheim, Germany (solo)
For the Benefit of All the Races of Mankind (Mos' Specially the Master One, Boss), An Exhibition of Artifacts, Remnants and Effluvia EXCAVATED from the Black Heart of a Negress, Hannover Kunstverein, Hannover, Germany (solo)
American Primitive, Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Disturbing Allegories, Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Nashville, TN (solo)
The Emancipation Approximation, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (solo)
Form Follows Fiction, Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Italy
Six Contemporary Artists, The Clifford Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
The Americans, Barbican Art Galleries, Barbican Centre, London, UK
New to the Modern: Recent Acquisitions from the Department of Drawings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
The Print World,Ljubljana Biennial 2001, Ljubljana, Slovenia
W, Musée des Beaux – Arts, Cole, France
Parkett Collaborations & Editions Since 1984, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
New Settlements, Nikolaj Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen, Denmark
Secret Victorians, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Locating Drawing, Lawing Gallery, Houston, TX
SchattenRisse, Silhouetten und Cutouts, Kunstbau Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany
Ornament and Abstraction, The Foundation Beyler, Basel, Switzerland
Waterworks, Nordiska Akvarellmuseet, Skärhamn, Sweden
Blurry Lines, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
Das Gedäschtnis der Kunst: History and Memory in Contemporary Art, Historic Museum of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
The Power of Narration, Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castelló, Castelló, Spain
Point of Reference, Frederick Hayes, Glenn Ligon, Gary Simmons, Kara Walker, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, NH
Drawing on the Figure: Works on Paper of the 1990s from the Manilow Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Strength and Diversity: A Celebration of African-American Artists, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Age of Influence: Reflections in the Mirror of American Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
This is Not the Place, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, NJ
00, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY
Kara Walker, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Why I Like White Boys, an Illustrated Novel by Kara E. Walker Negress, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
Kara Walker, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX (solo)
Another Fine Mess, Brent Sikkema, New York, NY (solo)
African't, Galleri Index, Stockholm, Sweden (solo)
No mere words can Adequately reflect the Remorse this Negress feels at having been Cast into such a lowly state by her former Masters and so it is with a Humble heart that she brings about their physical Ruin and earthly Demise, CCAC Institute, Oakland, CA
Istanbul Biennial: The Passion and the Wave, Istanbul, Turkey
Looking Forward, Looking Black, Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Re/Righting History; Counternarratives by Contemporary African-American Artists, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY
Other Narratives, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX
Art-Worlds in Dialogue, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Carnegie International 1999/2000, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Glenn Ligon & Kara Walker, Brent Sikkema, New York, NY
Au-Delà, Galerie Klosterfelde, Berlin, Germany<
Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage Through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored, The Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Kara Walker: Prints, The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
Opera Safety Curtain for 1998-99 Season, Vienna State Opera House, Vienna, Austria (solo)
Kara Walker, Wooster Gardens/Brent Sikkema, New York, NY (solo)
Kara Walker, The Forum. St. Louis, MO (solo)
Global Vision, New Art from the 90's, Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece
Strange Days, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Postcards From Black America, De Beyerd, Breda and The Frans Hals Museum, Harlem, The Netherlands
Arturo Herrera and Kara Walker, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK
Kara Walker/Charles Gaines, The Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, City College of New York, New York, NY
Upon My Many Masters - An Outline, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage Through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored, The Renaissance Society, The University of Chicago, IL
Kara Walker, Huntington Beach Arts Center, Huntington Beach, CA (solo)
Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA
Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, OH
Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
A Singular Vision: Prints from Landfall Press, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
(No Place) Like Home, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Landfall Press, Twenty-Five Years of Printmaking, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
‘Pagan' Stories: The Situations of Narrative in Recent Art, Apex Art, New York, NY
Civil Progress: Life in Black America, Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA
The Gaze, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY
From the Bowels to the Bosom, Wooster Gardens/Brent Sikkema, New York, NY
Ol' Marster Paintin's and Silhouette Cuttings, Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
Body Language, Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
New Histories, ICA, Boston, MA
Real, Bass Museum, Miami, FL
New Histories, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Conceal/Reveal,Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
No Doubt, Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT
Body Language, Mills Gallery, Boston, MA
Gone With the Wind: The Fabrication and Denial of Southern Culture, The City Gallery, Atlanta, GA
The High and Soft Laughter of the Nigger Wenches At Night, Wooster Gardens/Brent Sikkema, New York, NY (solo)
The Battle of Atlanta: Being the Narrative of a Negress in the Flames of Desire – A Reconstruction, Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, GA (solo)
Look Away! Look Away! Look Away!, Center For Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, NY (solo)
A Drawing, Bravin Post-Lee, New York, NY
La Belle et la Bete, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France
Not Not, Who's There?, E.S. Vandam, New York, NY
Now Is the Time, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY
Landscapes, Borders, Boundaries, Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
Inaugural Exhibition, Paul Morris Gallery, New York, NY
Drawing Show, Bernard Toale Gallery Boston, MA
More Than Real, Gallery 400, Chicago, IL
Thesis Show, Sol Koffler Gallery Providence, RI
Summer Group Show +2, Stienbaum/Krauss Gallery, New York, NYM
An Historical Romance, Sol Koffler Gallery, Providence, RI
1993 Annual Invitational New Talent Exhibition, MU Gallery, Boston, MA
Rough Trade, Sol Koffler Gallery, Providence, RI
Angry Love, Pavilion Exhibit, Arts Festival of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
Black Men: Image/Reality, New Visions Gallery, Atlanta, GA
The Naked People Show, 800 East, Atlanta, GA
Swan Song, Gallery 100, Atlanta, GA
The Earth Factory Show, Hasting Seeds Building, Atlanta, GA
Rated RX: Pathological Conditions, New Visions Gallery, Atlanta, GA
One/Another, North Arts Center, Atlanta, GA


Vergne, Philippe. Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2007.