Explore Frank Walter’s relationship to Antigua through a range of works and writings that express his intimate connection to Caribbean nature, landscape, and place.
“Nothing seems to be reworked—it is as if each piece drew or painted itself without being adjusted, revised, or fussed over.” —Hyperallergic
Influenced by his studies of agriculture and the sugar industry in the former British colony of Antigua as well as in England, Scotland, and West Germany, Walter created work inspired by his thoughts, knowledge, journeys, and surroundings—work that encompassed painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, photography, and sound. His paintings—tender, quiet, and lush—transcend the traditional tourist’s view of island life in favor of perspectives that explore how and why we look at where we are.
Published on the occasion of the 2022 exhibition at David Zwirner, this catalogue includes an introduction by the show’s curator Hilton Als. Barbara Paca, the leading expert on Walter, writes a text detailing her personal experience meeting Walter and being in his presence. An essay by Charlie Porter takes readers on a walk as he muses about Walter’s life and the nature depicted in his paintings. Joshua Jelly-Schapiro travels to Antigua to explore the history of the island and Walter’s lasting impact there.
Frank Walter (1926–2009) was born Francis Archibald Wentworth Walter, on Horsford Hill, Antigua. He spent much of the 1950s traveling and learning advanced agricultural and industrial techniques in England, Scotland, and West Germany. The artist returned to the Caribbean in 1961, where, in addition to painting, drawing, and writing, he began making sculptures, photographs, and sound recordings. In the early 1990s, Walter designed and built his home and studio on Bailey Hill in Antigua, where he spent the remainder of his time in relative isolation, reflecting, writing, and making art inspired by his thoughts, knowledge, journeys, and surroundings.
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose books include Names of New York (2021) and Island People: The Caribbean and the World (2016). He is the co-author, with Rebecca Solnit, of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas (2016), and the co-editor, with Leah Gordon, of PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince (2022). Jelly-Schapiro is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and his work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Artforum, and Harper’s Magazine, among many other publications. He teaches at NYU.
Hilton Als is a writer with focus in theater criticism. He became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994, a theater critic in 2002, and chief theater critic in 2013. His book White Girls (2013) discusses various narratives around race, identity, gender, and sexuality, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.
Barbara Paca is a full research professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has a PhD in art history from Princeton University, authored five books, and has been awarded numerous postdoctoral fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholarship and post at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, and now a Trustee to the Institute for Advanced Study Member’s Board. In 2018 she was recognized by Her Majesty the Queen with an Order of the British Empire and currently serves as Cultural Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda.