Four artist-designed installations featuring the work of mid-career artists with whom the Walker has developed long-term relationships–Matthew Barney, Robert Gober, Sherrie Levine, and Kara Walker–are presented in this exhibition.
Over the past decade, Matthew Barney has radically transformed the language of installation by collapsing it with moving image, performance, and sculpture. The Walker is the only American institution to own the entire Cremaster Cycle, an investigation of American history and politics, mythologies, sexuality, and personal fantasy created from 1994 to 2002. For this exhibition, Barney created a room focused on the diverse sculptural and photographic elements of Cremaster 2, which premiered at the Walker in 1999.
Since the early 1980s, Robert Gober has developed a body of work informed by cultural memory as well as issues of pain, childhood, religion, and sexual politics. In 1985 the Walker acquired his Subconscious Sink, and in 1992 Gober’s Slides of a Changing Painting entered the collection to become one of its signature pieces.
Sherrie Levine has developed over 20 years a critical investigation of authorship and originality through the appropriation and the reproduction of icons and genres of 20th-century art. Since the 1992 acquisition of Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp), her presence in the collection has grown with the addition of a major ensemble of paintings, photographs, and sculptures.
A 1996 acquisition and the 1997 exhibition no place (like home) first brought Kara Walker to the Walker. She is best known for her large-scale narrative installations of figurative silhouettes retracing the dysfunctional narrative of American history. Her major, transgressive mural installation Endless Conundrum, An African Anonymous Adventuress was acquired in 2002. Her artist-designed installation features a wall mural, a selection of drawings, and a new animated film.