Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)

October 13, 2017 – March 11, 2018

Kara Walker, Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats, from the portfolio Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment © 2005 Kara Walker

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor South Floor Plan

The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents the complete set of Kara Walker's print series, Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) for the first time since it was acquired in 2008. In this group of fifteen works, Walker appropriated select illustrations from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War—a two-volume anthology from 1866—enlarging and overlaying them with dark stenciled figures that depict disturbing imagery, including racial stereotypes and graphic acts of violence. According to the artist, the Civil War prints “are the landscapes that I imagine exist in the back of my somewhat more austere wall pieces.”

In this exhibition, Walker's works are presented alongside a selection of the original Harper’s prints on which they are based, also drawn from SAAM's collection.