The best kind of art is not the work that makes you scratch your head and wonder if you're culturally illiterate, but the kind that lets you have an "a-ha" moment despite the fact that you know more about Perez Hilton than Gerhard Richter. People fall into the trap of thinking that they should be able to draw some sort of deep meaning out of art that is really just there to make you think about things like use of space or color. But other times, art is meant to invoke something more concrete, like a specific human experience. Kara Walker's art is the more concrete variety, and the specific human experience she evokes packs an emotional "a-ha" for anyone who views it. Walker uses cut paper silhouettes and overhead projectors to create a grim shadow puppet effect that focuses on themes of slavery, race, gender and violence. Horrific scenes of slavery are juxtaposed with the more romantic Gone With the Wind-type imagery so many of us associate with the Antebellum South. The effect is of a Victorian-era shadow theatre gone mad; it's vaguely creepy. But Walker's work isn't a total bummer, either -- her wicked sense of humor permeates the exhibit, making the heady themes all the more ripe for a good ponder. Her exhibit entitled My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love runs July 5 through October 19 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell. Visit themodern.org for more information.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 5. Continues through Oct. 19, 2008