5. Kara Walker’s Sphinx Study (2014)

A project of Creative Time. Photo by Jason Wyche courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Artwork © 2014 Kara Walker.

Kara Walker is most noted for her large silhouettes, which are cut from sheets of black paper. In 2014, however, she presented her first large-scale public project:

At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker has confected:
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

The installation, taking the form of a massive female sphinx, was housed inside Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Factory, once the world’s largest sugar refinery, now slated for redevelopment as office space, residential towers, and parkland.

Standing approximately 80-feet long by 40-feet high, the piece had a polystyrene core that was coated in 30-tons of sugar. Several smaller childlike figures (attendants) were also cast from boiled sugar. It was only on display for two months, but you can now view Kara Walker’s sphinx study at the MCNY.