Consuming Stories: Kara Walker and the Imagining of American Race by Rebecca PeabodyConsuming Stories: Kara Walker and the Imagining of American Race by Rebecca Peabody

Consuming Stories: Kara Walker and the Imagining of American Race

byRebecca Peabody

Hardcover | November 15, 2016

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InConsumingStories,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 examining narrative depictions of race, gender, power, and desire.ConsumingStoriesconsiders Walker's sustained visual engagement with literary genres such as the romance novel, the neo-slave narrative, and the fairy tale and with internationally known stories includingRoots,Beloved, andUncleTom'sCabin. 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 when 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. Peabody also shows how Walker uses her tools and strategies to unsettle cultural histories abroad when she works outside the United States. These stories, Peabody reminds us, not only change the way people remember history but also shape the entertainment industry. Ultimately,ConsumingStoriesshifts the critical conversation away from the visual legacy of historical racism toward the present-day role of the entertainment industry—and its consumers—in processes of racialization.
RebeccaPeabodyis Head of Research Projects and Programs at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She is coeditor ofLawrenceAlloway,CriticandCuratorandPacificStandardTime:LosAngelesArt,1945-1980and editor ofAnglo-AmericanExchangein PostwarSculpture,1945-1975. In addition, her essays have appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues...
Title:Consuming Stories: Kara Walker and the Imagining of American RaceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:216 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.8 inPublished:November 15, 2016Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0520288920

ISBN - 13:9780520288928

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Kara
Walker, Storyteller
1. The End of Uncle Tom
2. The Pop of Racial Violence
3. American Romance in Black and White
4. The International Appeal of Race
5. Storytelling in Film and Video

Selected Bibliography
Illustration Credits

Editorial Reviews

"...this excellent book contributes greatly to the plethora of existing scholarship on Kara Walker."