Skip to Content

Kara Walker-Photograph by Ari Marcopoulos
Jason Moran-Photograph courtesy of the artist

Kara Walker and Jason Moran

  • Saturday, May 14, 2022
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium

Please note: this conversation has been moved to the East Building Auditorium, where seating will be first-come, first-served. Please use the West Building entrance at 6th Street and Constitution; entry to the East Building Auditorium is only available through the Concourse Level. Jason Moran's performance at 3:30 p.m. will still take place at the calliope in the Sculpture Garden.

Jason Moran, jazz pianist, composer, performance artist, artistic director for jazz at The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, New England Conservatory faculty member, and MacArthur "Genius" Fellow (2010); in conversation with Kara Walker, artist and MacArthur "Genius" Fellow (1997). Introduced by Molly Donovan, curator of contemporary art, National Gallery of Art

As part of Afro-Atlantic Histories, a satellite installation in the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden presents Kara Walker’s Katastwóf Karavan (2018), a work incorporating a steam calliope, a musical instrument used in the 19th century on steamboats and in carnivals. Walker made this sculpture for the Prospect.4 Triennial in New Orleans to create a temporary memorial at Algiers Point, a site in the city along the Mississippi River which once served as a holding area for enslaved Africans.

Enveloped in the artist’s signature silhouettes made from cut steel and set in a parade wagon, the thirty-two-note steam-whistle organ will be programmed with a new automated playlist of songs of Black resistance and celebration for its Washington, DC debut. Through collaboration together and between image and sound, Jason Moran performs the custom fabricated instrument to demonstrate “music as bearer of our emotional history,” as Walker describes. For the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series, Moran and Walker join to discuss the significance of activating this monument together on the National Mall.

Jason Moran will perform the calliope live on May 14 from 3:30–4:00 p.m. and May 15 from 2:00–2:30 p.m. Additionally, a playlist will play daily May 12–18 from 11:00 a.m.–noon and 2:00–3:00 p.m. except for on May 14, when it will play a second time from 4:00–5:00 p.m., and on May 15, when it will play only from 1:30–2:00 p.m.

The Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibition also features Walker’s 2009 print Restraint.

Notice: Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the conversation and performances in the Sculpture Garden. Bench and Pavilion Cafe seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that when activated, The Katastwóf Karavan is extremely loud. The conversation may include a demonstration.

Thursday, May 12 – Thursday, May 19
Kara Walker's The Katastwóf Karavan

The Sculpture Garden will be a site for a temporary installation of Kara Walker's The Katastwóf Karavan, a work incorporating a steam calliope, a musical instrument used in the 19th century on steamboats and in carnivals.

Jason Moran will perform the calliope live on May 14 from 3:30–4:00 p.m. and May 15 from 2:00–2:30 p.m. Additionally, a playlist will play daily May 12–18 from 11:00 a.m.–noon and 2:00–3:00 p.m. except for on May 14, when it will play a second time from 4:00–5:00 p.m., and on May 15, when it will play only from 1:30–2:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 14, 11:00 a.m.
Procession: Enslaved Washington

Join us in an outdoor procession to four historical sites of enslavement on or near the National Gallery campus. Registration is required.