"Rebecca Peabody uses the work of contemporary American artist Kara Walker to investigate a range of popular storytelling traditions with roots in the nineteenth century and ramifications in the present. Focusing on a few key pieces that range from a wall-size installation to a reworked photocopy in an artist's book, and from a theater curtain to a monumental sculpture, Peabody explores a significant yet neglected aspect of Walker's production: her commitment to exploring narrative depictions of race, gender, power, and desire. Consuming Stories considers Walker's sustained visual engagement with literary genres such as the romance novel, neo-slave narrative, and children's fairy tales, and internationally-known stories including Roots, Beloved, and Uncle Tom's Cabin. Walker's interruption of these familiar works, along with her generative use of the familiar in unexpected and destabilizing ways, reveals the extent to which genre-based narrative conventions depend on specific representations of race--especially as it is aligned with power, and desire. Breaking these implicit rules makes them visible - and, in turn, highlights viewers' reliance on them for narrative legibility. As this study reveals, Walker's engagement with narrative continues beyond her early silhouette work as she moves into media such as film, video, and sculpture--and when she works beyond the United States, using her tools and strategies to unsettle cultural histories abroad. Ultimately, Consuming Stories shifts the critical conversation around Walker away from the visual legacy of historical racism, and towards the present-day role of the entertainment industry--and its consumers--in processes of racialization."--Provided by publisher.
Oakland, California :
University of California Press,
FA / 547576
Includes bibliographical references (pages 183-194) and index.