I Heart Robin Givhan & Kara Walker Complicates the Symbols of Race & Oppression

Washington Post fashion writer, Robin Givhan, is simply wonderful. I love her writing and think she’s fantastic. I am so upset to have missed her recent lecture at the Corcoran Museum. But happily for me, over at Project Beltway there’s news of the speech. Thank you Project Beltway!

In addition to her insightful commentary about fashion at the Post, Givhan also has things to say about the world of art and culture more broadly. For instance, I like this article from Givhan on Kara Walker’s exhibit, “My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love,”  last year at The Whitney Museum. I saw the exhibit – and experienced some very interesting (and at times problematic) responses to the work. While I don’t agree with all of Givhan’s analysis, I am impressed that she weaved many racial current events (Bill Cosby’s comments, the Jena 6)  into her thoughtful and well-argued article. She also, I think, accurately described Walker’s often chilling, gut-wrenching work. 

You can learn more about Walker from PBS’s great program Art 21, here. And because youtube makes nearly all things accessible, check out this interview with Kara Walker.

This article, entitled, “Love by a Thousand Cuts,” did a good  job of giving an overview of Walker’s work. What I appreciate about Walker’s work, is that she connects racism and sexualization, understanding that slavery was a sexualized racism – deeply enmeshed with sexuality and sexual exploitation.

Gives one much to think about and ponder.


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