Crowds Swarm Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx

Visitors must wait in line for up to an hour to view the controversial sculpture.

Kara Walker, A Subtlety (2014). Photo Jason Wyche, courtesy Creative Time.

The Brooklyn art scene saw an influx of visitors this weekend thanks to Bushwick Open Studios, and though not a part of the official programming, Kara Walker’s giant sugar sculpture at the Domino Sugar Factory was one of most popular destinations. The much-discussed installation, which features the body of a racially-charged stereotype of a black woman in the pose of a sphinx, has recently been the subject of some unsavory Instagram photos amidst widespread positive attention from casual art observers and major publications alike.

While the Washington Post predicts you might only have to wait in line for 20 minutes to see the artwork, this weekend visitors waited for up to an hour in a line that snaked down Kent Street underneath the beating sun. One witness claimed the line reached all the way back to the Williamsburg Bridge, and that a single policeman was tasked with controlling the crowd.

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Photo: artnet News

Whether the massive interest in the sculpture has stemmed from the social media controversy, the recent inundation of art events in Brooklyn, or steadily increasing media coverage remains a mystery, but clearly something in the combination of aesthetic, location and, concept has won Walker’s work a place among the most successful, highly trafficked exhibitions of the year. If you can handle the crowds and the heat, we recommend making the trek to go see it. Just remember to bring some water and entertainment, because there’s sure to be a wait, and it’s only getting hotter.

Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety or 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 on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant” remains on view at the Domino Sugar Refinery through July 6.


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