• 05.30.14

Watch Kara Walker (And Team) Construct The Massive “Sugar Baby” Sculpture

Here’s how artist Kara Walker created her gargantuan, sphinx-like sculpture in the abandoned Brooklyn factory.

New York artist Kara Walker’s latest piece, located in and inspired by the disused Domino Sugar plant in Brooklyn, New York, is a pretty incredible spectacle. Consisting of a giant sugar-coated sphinx and several life-sized candy figures, the work’s full title is “A Subtlety, 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.” And a new video from Art21 shows exactly how it was made.


Due as it is for destruction along with the Domino Sugar plant itself in July, if you can’t get out to New York to see the sculpture, this short documentary is a great introduction to the piece. If you’ve managed to already see it, you know just how striking it is, and this gives some context to exactly how involved its creation was. You can see the many artists and workers cutting the polystyrene base, creating what’s basically a hard candy mold for the “attendant” figures that surround the sphinx, and coating the sphinx with a sugar slurry to give it that sweet sheen. Check it out below.

About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law.