Harvard University has acquired a collage of drawings by contemporary artist Kara Walker entitled “U.S.A. Idioms.” The work depicts a series of figures, both African-Americans and their oppressors. The collage is the largest work in the more than 250,000 works held by Harvard University. It is 10 feet tall and more than 14 feet wide.
Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums, stated that “this is a powerhouse of a work — provocative in its subject and scale and also, as a drawing, incredibly beautiful and technically exhilarating. Given the teaching and learning mission of the Harvard Art Museums, and our legacy as a site for the study of great drawings from across time and place, it feels especially appropriate for us to bring this new and compelling work to Cambridge.”
Walker is a native of Stockton, California. A former MacArthur Foundation Fellow, she has served as a professor of visual arts at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City. Currently, she is serving a five-year term as Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Walker is a graduate of the Atlanta College of Art. She earned a master of fine arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design.