Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” was sculpted and covered in styrofoam and coated in 30 tons of sugar. The sculpture only lasted for two months due to a leaking roof and the continuous melting of sugar. The New York art work was assembled in a sugar shed and then dismantled piece by piece to make way for apartments to take shape within the building. Left are several of the sphinx’s human-size attendants that were cast in plastic and coated in sugar that “have been put on sale by Sikkema Jenkins gallery, as part of an edition of 15 sculptures it hopes to place in public institutions, for $100,000 to $200,000 each.”
Ephemeral projects such as Ms. Walker’s and so many before her allow for a more creative use of medium and a more daring approach to art. Her piece represents the temporality of sugar and the ruins of the sphinx, something that appears to be so permanent but still degrades over time.