One Lump or Two?

Kara Walker's Marvelous Sugar Baby makes her debut at the Creative Time gala


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Though a bevy of fetching women turned out for last night's Creative Time gala at Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Factory (Chloë Sevigny, Jenna Lyons, and Cindy Sherman among them), none received so many long glances as the lady of the evening. She was stark naked, 65 feet long, and entirely crafted from sugar. Her name? 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. Commissioned by Creative Time, the work of conceptual confectionery is honoree Kara Walker's first large-scale public project, and a last hurrah for Domino, the bulk of which will soon be demolished to make room for housing.

Walker's tremendous sphinx stretches out in the factory's former storage shed, and commanded an array of responses. "My sweet tooth is coming out," laughed Public School's Dao-Yi Chow. Dustin Yellin had a less G-rated take. "I want to lick this thing," he intoned, "from head to…ear. I want to go climb in the rafters…I like…honey. I…love molasses."

Guests from Chuck Close to André Leon Talley marveled at both the work and the cavernous space. Chow's colleague Maxwell Osborne lamented the imminent loss of the spot, which the born-and-bred New Yorker said he had once visited on a school trip: "It's a bummer, seeing New York lose a lot of its historic landmarks. It could be your favorite pizzeria or the Domino Factory." Waris Ahluwalia took a different tack, proclaiming, "Everything is temporary." Even 60-ton sugar sphinxes.

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