A Subtlety: The Marvelous Sugar Baby…anything but subtle or sweet
Upon entering the abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn (just after signing an asbestos waiver),
the old smell of sticky brown sugar syrup became overwhelming…with a whiff of the indescribable history that can only try to be explained
by what had dripped and dried on the defunct factory walls for over a century.
Artist Kara Walker’s exhibit A Subtlety: The Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World glowed like a beacon at the back end of the factory, which was accompanied by haunting, molasses-darkened molded sculptures of slave boys carrying woven baskets of sugar.
As Walker told Food and Wine:
“When I was trying to understand the space, I fixated on the molasses as this waste product, a byproduct of the refining process that’s still edible and more nutritious but darker and undesirable, with allusions to plantation lore.”
F&W described (Walker’s) work…(which) “explores race and history, and the focal point of the show
is a massive sphinxlike figure with uncomfortably exaggerated “mammy” features.”
Up close, The Marvelous Sugar Baby is just that…at nearly 40 feet tall and more than 75 feet long, she is completely nude
(save for the bandana on her head), with huge breasts, a deep swayed back and an exposed vagina.
Of the sculpture, Walker said:
“It seemed important to me to let it all be woman and bottom and vagina and toes and imposing
and silly and serious and ridiculous and sexy all at once.”
The impressive centerpiece is on display until July 6, so if you’re in New York City, head over the Williamsburg Bridge to the Domino Sugar Refinery. The exhibit is open and free to the public.
food and wine read / view | creative time watch the process | domino sugar refinery | copy/images by regina exclusively for FCC
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