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Kara Walker's "A Subtlety" was anything but...

"Goodbye Domino Sugar."

Was one of the eery sentences I heard from visitors like myself as I left the exhibit this past weekend. 

The exhibition's intro text was pasted right onto the building.

The exhibition's intro text was pasted right onto the building.

In front of the "Marvelous Sugar Baby" for a view of the proportion. She's huge... Thematically and physically.

In front of the "Marvelous Sugar Baby" for a view of the proportion. She's huge... Thematically and physically.

I took some time to go out to Brooklyn this past weekend to make the pilgrimage to "A Subtlety", the large installation presented by Creative Time by visual artist Kara Walker.

I stepped through a place that was emotional and breath-taking. The near hour-long wait and release form submission was totally worth it (its on a live construction site and some of the warnings and hazards besides slippery floors and machinery was possible inhalation of chemicals and exposure to asbestos...)

As you step in you're bombarded with the smell of molasses/burnt sugar (as I was obviously shocked by as you see in the video). And as there were 100-200 people in the facility at any given moment, it still felt and smelled like an abandoned, forgotten place. 

Making your way towards the 'mammyfied' sphinx or "Marvelous Sugar Baby", you step on solidified puddles of brown sugar, collected by the melting sugar sculptures of children carrying what looked to resemble straw baskets. If that wasn't surprising enough, some of the figures were completely knocked over by their own melting weight and left there until it melted into nothing, much like the rest of the building. Something about the abandoned type of smell with the amount of people that came to see A Subtlety with the knowledge that this building was due to be demolished after the exhibition (through July 6, 2014) I collected tears in my eyes and held onto a few breaths.

There is amazing content on the public art org Creative Time that presented Walker's ambitious project on their website. Definitely check out their video with the building process, literature on Walker, and her mission for Marvelous Sugar Baby and drafts and drawings from her inspiration.