NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 94

Symposium on the recent “Mammy” sculpture of Kara Walker The following was an internet dialogue between PAUL CARTER HARRISON CAROL DIEHL BRENDA MARIE OSBEY CLYDE TAYLOR DENNIS KARDON Barbara Lewis’ piece was written separately. BARBARA LEWIS Paul Carter Harrison Preamble to Kara Walker Tragi-comedy 92 It never ceases to amaze me how many African American artists will subordinate their authentic creative visions to the popular narratives of the dominant cultures’ indulgence in Black Novelty for the sake of titillation and commodification. A recent play, fetchit clay, make man, written by the talented performance artist, Will Power, is gaining currency on the American theatre circuit largely because Stepin Fetchit, the inimical caricature of black consciousness, is portrayed in the service of the dominant culture’s conscience, a minstrel characterization used as a trump card to close the big mouth of muhammad ali and champion over the Nation of Islam. When we encounter the Sugar Coated Mammy of Kara Walker’s most recent installation, “Subtlety”, we become aware that minstrelsy is alive and well in the precincts of High Culture.