Kara E. Walker’s: A Subtlety

IMG_3245 IMG_3241Nothing can really prepare you for the experience you have walking in the molasses soaked air of the soon to be demolished Domino sugar factory where Kara E. Walker has installed her monumental, Marvelous Sugar Baby, part Sphinx, part Aunt Jemima and like no other confection you have ever encountered.

The boys carrying baskets are made from resin, the oil like stains on the floor and in their baskets are the melted remains of sculptures that were made from sugar and molasses and over the period of the show melted.  Ms. Walker would scoop up the remains and put them in the boy’s baskets.IMG_3251Presented by Creative Time an arts organization that specializes in public art projects that are often in grand off-beat places.  For more information about this piece I hardily suggest you check out their site where there is a great video showing the construction of the piece. The New Yorker also has a thoughtful and insightful over view of the work.IMG_3242 IMG_3246I just wanted to share with you what it was like walking in this building that literally still smelt of a combination of sugar and molasses. As we exited we saw in the gaps between the interior and exterior walls mounds of sugar that’s been piled there since way back when the factory was still operating.    IMG_3250The piece itself is beautiful and haunting, as much about slavery and those who toil to produce the goods the population craves at a price that they can afford.

Taking in one of the macabre, melted sugar sculptures, I over heard a man, maybe a tour guide say: sugar was the oil of its timeIMG_3252We take it so for granted that when I heard him say this it was revelatory.  A time before Oil?  Really? The minute I heard him say it, it was obvious.  Sugar the only time I think about it is when I have run out and need to get more.IMG_3254 Something to think about the next time you make a cake. This is the kind of show you wish could be on permanent installation. But, just as oil replaced sugar, now condos will replace the Domino Sugar factory, I’m so glad I was able to see it before it vanishes.IMG_3257 IMG_3259

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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One Response to Kara E. Walker’s: A Subtlety

  1. Leslie-Anne says:

    The more we know about where our food comes (came) from, the sadder it is.

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