Toni Morrison, one of our very greatest American writers, died this week at the age of 88. Fittingly, the remembrances and tributes have been many, and they have also only just begun. One of them will grace the cover of next week’s issue of The New Yorker (the August 19, 2019 edition): Kara Walker’s piece “Quiet As It’s Kept.”
“I wasn’t sure what to do, really,” Walker told Françoise Mouly in an interview about process behind the image.
Like many artists, I looked up to Ms. Morrison for some kind of approval and validation that I usually didn’t seek in life. Through her work and words, she became something like a muse, teacher, mother, clairvoyant, and judge. Always a presence urging me on. After a number of false starts—pastel, clay, I even considered watercolor—I decided to keep it familiar, to use the cutout. It’s the work I do. I’m no portraitist, but I am a shadow maker.
See the cover below.