At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker has confected:
or 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
Is it worth the schlep out to Williamsburg to wait on line for about 30 minutes to one hour in order to see a gigantic 21st century Sphinx attended by life-size sculptures of children carrying massive baskets or other heavy objects that remind us of exploitation, unwritten labor laws, and the misery of factory conditions for the benefit of the ignorant masses? Yes - if only to stand in this cavernous space to take in the sweet smell of melting molasses. It is the sweetness and the pungency of the subject matter that successfully packs a wallop in this ambitious installation. One would want to experience the full impact in person in order to judge its quality and achievement.
Photographs by Beth S. Gersh-Nesic
We know that over the years, art has extended its reach to engage most of the senses. This year in particular we have been treated to art that stimulates sight (of course), hearing (Camille Henrot, Ragnar Kjartansson, Roberto Cuoghi at the New Museum), touch (Lygia Clark at MoMA and, earlier this year, at the Jewish Museum), and taste (Chloe Bass's Tea Will Be Served, performed at the Neuberger Museum in March). However, few works of art address the potency of the olfactory experience, which scientists claim provokes deep-seated memories in the most visceral manner - far and away more than taste, M. Proust. Creative Time's video and Art 21's video (see below) can do so much, but not enough to capture the excitement of being there. (FYI: Confectionery is the art of creating sugar-based treats or "subleties.")