Tickets to see Kara Walker were gone in 15 minutes

Art ist Kara Walker (left) and ICA Barbara Lee Chief Curator Eva Respini on Thursday.
Liza Voll
Artist Kara Walker (left) and ICA Barbara Lee Chief Curator Eva Respini on Thursday.

One of the most difficult tickets to snag in Boston 0n Thursday night was for artist Kara Walker’s free discussion at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Walker, known for her cut-paper works that examine race, gender, and narrative, gave a presentation about her process, and then took questions from ICA Barbara Lee Chief Curator Eva Respini (above, right with Walker) in front of a crowd of 345 people. Tickets for the event became available to the public at 5 p.m. and were gone by 5:15.

The evening talk included some references to the election, and more details about Walker’s 2014 work “A Subtlety,” which was a 75-foot sphinx sculpture displayed in the Domino Sugar factory in Brooklyn. The installation, which had an alternative title — “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” — drew visits from celebrities such as Beyoncé and Alicia Keys.


“I didn’t get President Obama there . . . but that was fine,” Walker said, smiling, maybe half-kidding.

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Walker also talked about her upcoming projects. She couldn’t give specifics, but said one will have her putting art into a “slaughterhouse in Greece.” (She didn’t name the venue, but the Deste Foundation does have a slaugherhouse space for art in Hydra.)

After the discussion, many flocked to the fourth floor of the museum to see Walker’s 2010 work inspired by “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” It was installed in August as part of “First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA.”