Kara Walker. Photo: Ari Marcopoulos.

Kara Walker Chosen for Tate Modern’s 2019 Turbine Hall Commission

Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor announced today that Kara Walker will create the next annual Hyundai Commission, a site-specific work that will be installed in the museum’s massive Turbine Hall from October 2, 2019 to April 5, 2020.

The multidisciplinary, New York–based artist, who is perhaps best known for her use of black cut-paper silhouetted figures, often referencing the history of slavery and the antebellum South in the United States, completed her first large-scale public commission in 2014. The work, a monumental sphinxlike figure that was covered in sugar, was on view in the derelict Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn that spring. Walker has since designed and directed a production of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma for the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale in 2015 and created The Katastwóf Karavan, 2017, a musical installation that took the form of a steam-powered organ, as part of the Prospect.4 triennial in New Orleans.

“Kara Walker fearlessly tackles some of the most complex issues we face today,” Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, said in a statement. “Her work addresses history and identity with a powerful directness, but also with great understanding, nuance and wit. Seeing her respond to the industrial scale of the Turbine Hall—and the wider context of London and British history—is a hugely exciting proposition.”

Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, Turbine Hall has hosted artists such as Tania Bruguera, Superflex, and Philippe Parreno. The first commission, I Do, I Undo, I Redo, created by Louise Bourgeois, consisted of three steel towers—each about thirty feet high—that visitors could climb. The commissions are made possible by the long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, confirmed until 2025 as part of the longest initial commitment from a corporate sponsor in Tate’s history.

The 2019 Hyundai Commission will be curated by Clara Kim, senior curator, international art (Africa, Asia, and the Middle East), and Priyesh Mistry, assistant curator, international art, and will be accompanied by a new book from Tate Publishing.