potato reflections on silhouettes + cookies

going "out" on weeknights is fun. weemo and r braved the OMG-it-rained-for-10-minutes-and-even-thundered-so-we're-all-going-to-die LA traffic to come meet me on the westside to go see this exhibit at the hammer museum earlier tonight, after work.

yeah, that's the only quality pic i got. the more daring weemo will be sure to have a few more up soon, i'm sure.

amazing technique? check.
disturbing imagery? check.
yet still somehow beautiful? check.
amazing talent from someone so young ? check.
diary of an angry black woman? check. [quite literally--pages of her journal were framed and on display.]

beyond the message of her work and the stark, black+white-ness of most of it, i think what struck me most was the raw honesty of the work and the artist. i loved that there were pages of her journal up. one series was produced concurrently with the finished work on display in the adjacent room, and another series was documenting her thoughts, dreams, and reactions to her critics in the period after she won a rather prestigious award at a young age. on those pages, there is beautiful, loose, yet still technically clean sketches in watercolor, gouache, and other media. there is documentation, in words, of her dreams. there are pages with both images and text reacting to her critics' words. yes, a lot of it is disturbing, but it's so honest, raw, and brave. she shares her innermost, revealing her still-forming, still-angsty self-image especially as related to race with her uninhibited thoughts, profanity and imperfect spelling included, sprinkled throughout. i would never have enough courage to post such pages from my journal for all the world to see. i don't like showing the world that much crazy from the tater head. once upon a time, i dreamed of being an artist. however, i soon realized i am nowhere near uninhibited enough to put out and show the fantastical side of what i see.

plus, as was drilled into my head in design school, it's all about the process. too bad that in the real world, in most cases, all the public at-large sees is the finished product. :P. anyway, i always love seeing sketches and process work, and i loved that this exhibit included so much of it.

in a film playing in the last room of the exhibit, kara walker said something like, "my work is two parts research, one part [fantastical? some adjective like that] paranoia." [totally paraphrased, obviously]. she also states that her work is about showing fact, such as images from slave life and the antebellum south, and overlaying them with fiction and narrative. in contrast to the tone of her work, she is rather soft-spoken, almost droll, when interviewed. she does not come off anywhere near as angry or disturbed as one might expect after viewing her work. see? brave in a way in that the angry isn't always expressed 24/7, but is still channeled into a form that will reach an audience. she reveals and puts down in visual, tangible form the crazy, provocative, conflicted turmoil within regarding her controversial subject matter. i admire her for being able to share that side with us and use it to provoke and challenge us.

upon exiting, we found out that the garage below the museum closes at 9:30. the museum closes at 9:00. it was shortly after 9:00. BOO! we decided that exiting and re-parking in westwood village was too much for us lazy hags, so we ended up eating dinner at diddy riese. parking in LA always has its issues. poo.

hot dog (all-beef, no less), ice cream sandwich, and a half dozen cookies to take home to the bear for $5.12. can't beat that. we had no time to dilly dally and eat, so we shoved bargain hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches in our faces while walking through westwood village. klassy. some sights on our way back--super long line for indiana jones, silly girls in party dresses tripping down the street, noodles galore. we finished our food on a bench in the parking garage, then said our farewells. such a fun night with happy, smart, fun company--yum!

oh, and the exhibit's up 'til june 8. go see it soon, if you wish.


  1. You are so fast!

    Thanks so much for tonight. Such a great idea, and I had a lovely time.

  2. This sounds so very cool. Hopefully I will be able to go see this before it's gone. I love me a good exhibit.

  3. sounds like a really cool exhibit.

    and of course you saw girls in party dresses. thursday night is party night since the high schoolers are around. ;)

  4. I didn't even know you could have dinner at diddy reese! I'm going to try to go this weekend - I googled some of her stuff after your previous post and it looks very interesting. Thanks!

  5. Sounds so interesting! I, like the rest of the public, only notices the finished product. Sigh.

  6. i would have dinner at diddy riese if i had the chance.


  7. And THAT's why you park in the Ralph's Parking lot and get validated at Best Buy.

  8. Sounds great! Sad I missed out.

  9. aw, hi! i didn't know that anyone ever clicked on my blog (or that you had one too!)! i feel silly for making it, but it's almost like my personal log/scrapbook to keep me on track. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the advice! i'll look into it for sure!

  10. You make the show sound so awesome even without pictures :)

  11. I still have not blogged about the exhibit. I guess now that you and the monkey covered it so thoroughly I don't need to. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I piped up about going. :)


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