States Of Being

Kerry James Marshall

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Kerry James Marshall uses painting, sculptural installations, collage, video, and photography to comment on the history of black identity both in the United States and in Western art. He is well known for paintings that focus on black subjects historically excluded from the artistic canon and has explored issues of race and history through imagery ranging from abstraction to comics. Marshall said in a 2012 interview with Art + Auction that “it is possible to transcend what is perceived to be the limitations of a race-conscious kind of work. It is a limitation only if you accept someone else’s foreclosure from the outside. If you plumb the depths yourself, you can exercise a good deal of creative flexibility. You are limited only by your ability to imagine possibilities.”

Marshall was born in Alabama in 1955 and grew up in Watts, Los Angeles. He is a 1978 graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design and currently lives and works in Chicago. In his PBS Art21 special Marshall said, “You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you’ve got some kind of social responsibility. You can’t move to Watts in 1963 and not speak about it. That determined a lot of where my work was going to go…”

A major survey, Kerry James Marshall: MASTRY was on view at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles from March 12 – July 2, 2017.  The survey was previously on view at The Met Breuer and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Other solo exhibitions in the past few years include Kerry James Marshall: In the Tower at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2013); Kerry James Marshall: Painting and Other Stuff, organized by the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Belgium (2013), and traveled to the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark (2014); Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona (2014) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2014).

Marshall has worked in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Birmingham Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He is the recipient of several awards, grants and fellowships including the MacArthur genius grant in 1997. Kerry James Marshall was selected to exhibit in the 2015 Venice Biennale: All the World's Futures, May 9 - November 22, 2015.

Jack Shainman Gallery has represented Kerry James Marshall since 1993. Solo exhibitions in the gallery include Dollar for Dollar (2013), Black Romantic (2008), Drawings (2004), Kerry James Marshall (1999), The Garden Project (1995) and Kerry James Marshall (1993). 


The School, May 01 – Sep 30, 2021
Parking On Pavement
The School, Nov 17, 2018 – Mar 02, 2019
20th Street, Jun 28 – Aug 10, 2018
The Coffins of Paa Joe...
The School, Jun 08, 2017 – Feb 24, 2018
The Coffins of Paa Joe...
24th Street, Jun 08 – Aug 25, 2017
Winter In America
The School, Oct 17, 2015 – Mar 19, 2016
Status Quo
The School, Jan 31 – Apr 12, 2015
Mise En Scène
The School, Aug 01 – Dec 01, 2014
Dollar For Dollar
24th Street, Sep 10 – Oct 12, 2013
Black Romantic
20th Street, May 22 – Jul 03, 2008