Kerry James Marshall

The award wining PBS series Art:21-Art in the Twenty-First Century recently released two new short video featuring artist Kerry James Marshall addressing ideas related to the “Black Romantic” and “Being an Artist.” These topics relate to recent paintings by Marshall featured in a show titled Black Romantic, which were exhibited at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City this summer. The artist is well known for his broad references of art history and his ability to critically examine the role of the African American culture within that history. For his recent exhibition, Marshall examines the use of romance, sentimentality, and the overt usage of love employed by black artists within a particular genre of painting that portrays a more ‘charming’ view of African-American culture. Marshall argues that this type of work is uncritical by nature, and as an artist, his urge is to not distance himself from the genre, but embrace it in order to find its weakness. Once identified, Marshall exploits the weaknesses, as he breaks down the genre and examines it from the inside out.