Kara Walker’s “A Subtelty” Exhibit/Domino Sugar Factory

I love spending time with my mom.  Over the past ten years our relationship has evolved into a true friendship well beyond the mother-daughter bond.  We can talk to each other about almost anything.

In recent years, I’ve tried to take time off from work around her birthday to do something fun.  One year we spent a week in San Francisco with my sister and my nephew. This year, we took a stay-cation and puttered around Brooklyn.

My mom and I spent her birthday having the most perfect day ever.  We began our day at Choice Market where we both had the opportunity to eat the most perfect and delicious BLT for brunch.

BLT at Choice Market This exhibit was the highlight of the day. If you have a chance to go to the Kara Walker exhibit, do so. It is free and you will get the chance to explore a small piece of old Brooklyn while it still stands. The exhibit is open Fridays 4p to 8p and Sat-Sun 12n to 6p. Get there early. If you can't, don't worry; the line moves really fast. (c) Winter Shanck
BLT at Choice Market
(c) Winter Shanck

This sandwich starts off with the staple ingredients: a phenomenal bacon, lettuce, tomato and two slices of bread.  The thing that takes this sandwich over the top is the rosemary mayo.  Eating it was like partaking of something hand-prepared by angels.

After brunch, we made our way to the Old Domino Sugar Factory to see the Kara Walker installation. Upon arrival, we weren’t sure we would get to see the exhibit.  The line was super long; by the time we got to the location, the end of the line was at least four blocks from the entrance. However, we persevered and once the line started moving, it managed to move really quickly.

Old Domino Sugar Factory Architecture


Once inside, we realized this exhibit would become the second highlight of the day.

Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

 Kara’s intent for this exhibit was to pay

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.

The exhibit concluded at the massive and controversial, “Sugar Baby,” a naked sphinx with what are considered African American features (i.e. big lips, breast and bottom) with a rag on her head. The controversy largely stemmed from how viewers perceived and interacted with the exhibit.

Show Stopper - Sugar baby (c) Winter Shanck, 2014
Show Stopper – Sugar baby
(c) Winter Shanck, 2014

Upon viewing this behemoth, my reaction was very muted.  Since I had already researched and read as much as I could about the exhibit before going to view it, I really didn’t have any opinion on it.  I understood and respected that this was Kara expressing herself as an artist.  I can’t speak for how others received this subjective artwork, but for the most part, many of the other visitors to this exhibit during our visit was  very respective of the artist work and just wanted to document that they got the opportunity to see the sculpture.

After leaving the exhibit, my mom and I made our way to Pies-N-Thighs for dinner.  I had the chicken box, which included 3 pieces of fried chicken and a side. I choose the traditional side dish of cheese grits to accompany my chicken.

Chicken Box with Cheese Grits at Pies-N-Thighs (c) Winter Shanck
Chicken Box with Cheese Grits at Pies-N-Thighs
(c) Winter Shanck


To end the perfect day, we stopped at one of over favorite cafes in Brooklyn Heights, Tazza, for a birthday treat.

Red Velvet Cake at Tazza (c) Winter Shanck
Red Velvet Cake at Tazza
(c) Winter Shanck

After informing the ladies at Tazza’s that it was my mom birthday, they added their own little surprise to this end to a perfect day.

– Winter

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