Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)
Presenting the touring exhibition featuring Kara Walker’s art alongside the work of the Winslow Homer illustrations that inspired it.
Organized by the New Britain Museum of American Art and The Museum Box, Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) features 15 works on paper by Kara Walker, presented alongside a selection of prints by Winslow Homer that inspired them.
As a young artist, Homer served as a war correspondent for Harper’s Magazine. His compelling drawings of soldiers on the front lines of battle and civilians caught up in the war’s horrors became a visual history of the Civil War, and they were published after the war in the magazine’s 1866 two-volume anthology.
These historic prints represent a starting point for Walker, who revisits them utilizing her signature silhouettes to introduce new elements. She surfaces race and gender-based biases, highlights profound sociopolitical inequalities, and brings to the fore a silenced history of violence that complicate Homer’s initial narrative.
The direct comparison between the original images by Homer and Walker’s reinterpretation of the same material was first undertaken by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2017 and has traveled to several museums across the country.
This comparative exhibition constitutes an important opportunity to revisit the history of the antebellum South and the ensuing Civil War through the contemporary lenses of race, slavery, gender, and politics.
This exhibition is generously supported by Emily Leff in memory of James L Davis, III. Additional support by Benjamin and Karina Kelley.
On view through May 27, 2024.
About the Artist: Kara Walker
Kara Walker (American, b. 1969) is one of the most prominent American artists working today, emerging in the mid-1990s with provocative works that critically revisited a history that until then had mostly been told from male and white points of view. She is best known for her black cut-paper silhouettes, which depict historical narratives of the antebellum South marked by subjugation, sexuality, and violence.
About the Artist: Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910) was an American landscape painter and illustrator best known for his coastal scenes. Largely self-taught, Homer began his career as an illustrator for magazines such as Ballou’s Pictorial and Harper’s Weekly, mainly contributing scenes of life in Boston as well as in rural New England. He is considered one of the foremost American artists of the 19th century.
artist in residence
Our Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program invites artists to live and work at the museum. While in residence, artists consider the collection and community, and refresh our perspectives on the role of the museum. The program is central to the Currier Museum’s mission of connecting our audiences with art and creative thinking, whether of the past or the future. We hope to learn from our visiting artists – and be surprised by their perspectives.
Artists working in all media participate in the AIR program, which has three main components: 1) an open call to support emerging artists making socially engaged art; 2) an invitational through which artists are selected to develop special projects, commissions, or exhibitions; and 3) artist-led, community-centered public art projects in the city of Nashua, NH.
Open Call for Artist in Residence Applications
Our annual open call is currently live from October 1 – December 1, 2022. Artists who share the museum’s goal of positively impacting communities through the transformative power of art are encouraged to apply to this residency.