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Upcoming Exhibition

Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine)

July 1, 2024–May 2026
Floor 1
The public can access this exhibition for free in the Roberts Family Gallery on Floor 1

Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine)
A Respite for the Weary Time-Traveler.
Featuring a Rite of Ancient Intelligence Carried out by The Gardeners
Toward the Continued Improvement of the Human Specious
by
Kara E-Walker

Kara Walker has long been recognized for her incisive examinations of the dynamics of power and the exploitation of race and sexuality. Her work leverages expressions of fantasy and humor to confront troubling histories and dominant narratives, repossessing control in the process. Inspired by a wide range of sources, from antique dolls to Octavia Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower, Walker’s new commission, Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), considers the memorialization of trauma, the objectives of technology, and the possibilities of transforming the negative energies that plague contemporary society. Here, automatons trapped in a never-ending cycle of ritual and struggle are repositories of the human soul. They recall mechanized medieval icons that evidenced divinity, vitality, and the promise of faith. Situated within an energetically charged field of black obsidian from Mt. Konocti in Lake County — a volcanic glass with deep spiritual properties — Walker’s Gardeners evoke wonder, reflection, respite, and hope. Just past this prophetic vignette, the installation’s namesake, Fortuna, responds to each visitor with a choreographed gesture and a printed fortune fresh from her mouth — an offering of absolution and contemplation.

Learn more about Kara Walker.

Exhibition Preview

Kara Walker, Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), work in progress, 2023-2024; © Kara Walker; photo: Ari Marcopoulos
Kara Walker, study for Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), 2023–24; © Kara Walker
Kara Walker, Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), work in progress, 2023–24; © Kara Walker; photo: Ari Marcopoulos
Kara Walker, study for Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), 2023–24; © Kara Walker
Kara Walker, Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), work in progress, 2023–24; © Kara Walker; photo: Ari Marcopoulos

Major support for Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine) is provided by Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund and Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan.

Significant support is provided by Mary Jane Elmore, Agnes Gund, Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, Jessica Moment, Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Sonja Hoel Perkins and Jonathan Perkins, and SFMOMA Contemporaries.

Meaningful support is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Ethan Beard and Wayee Chu, Davis/Dauray Family Fund, Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Sheri and Paul Siegel Exhibition Fund, and Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Additional support is provided by The Jay DeFeo Foundation.

Exhibition production meaningfully supported by Kvadrat.

Header image: Kara Walker, Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine), work in progress, 2023-2024; © Kara Walker; photo: Ari Marcopoulos