Kerry James marshall

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Art

Invoking Black Masking Traditions, Artist Demond Melancon Beads Elaborate, Celebratory Portraits

March 31, 2022

Grace Ebert

…2020. “I like to teach with my work, and I want to make something that’s very meaningful,” he says. “It’s going to tell you something. It’s going to hit you in your heart.”   “Most Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off” (2021), glass beads and rhinestones on canvas Sometimes years in the making, Melancon’s portraits exemplify his commitment to transforming the small, tactile materials into compositions evocative of painting. He references artists like Kerry James Marshall (previously) and Kehinde Wiley (previously) as inspiration and is equally drawn to those working today as he is to the art historical canon. His…

 

 



Art History

The Gaze: Barry Jenkins Directs a Stunning Non-Narrative Film that Preserves the Legacy of Black Ancestors

May 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

…had the feeling of seeing them, truly seeing them and thus, we sought to capture and share that seeing with you,” the director says. Jenkins writes that he was inspired by Kerry James Marshall’s “Scipio Moorhead, Portrait of Himself, 1776,” which is an earnest rendering of the African American artist who actively painted throughout the 1770s while he was enslaved. Marshall’s homage secures Moorhead’s legacy in an urgent and necessary act of visual documentation that Jenkins replicates: We have sought to give embodiment to the souls of our ancestors frozen in the tactful but inadequate descriptor “enslaved,” a phrase that…

 

 



Art Documentary History

'Black Art: In the Absence of Light,' a New Documentary, Celebrates the Rich Legacy of Black Art

February 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

…universities. These institutions continue to foster communities that honor the legacy of those who’ve come before while backing those forging new ground, prompting questions like this one from Theaster Gates: “We are part of a continued renaissance—it’s been happening. What I’m most excited about is, do we have the capacity to be great makers in the absence of light?” Black Art is streaming on HBO Max through March 17. Educators also can download a coinciding curriculum with research tools and discussion prompts, in addition to another filled with activities designed to spur creativity.   Kerry James Marshall in his studio…

 

 



Art History

Chromatic Black Crows by Artist Kerry James Marshall Consider the Precarity of Race in America

August 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Black and part Black Birds in America: (Crow, Goldfinch)” (2020), acrylic on PVC panel, 27 7/8 x 24 3/4 inches. All images © Kerry James Marshall, courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner Two new paintings by Kerry James Marshall feature a central crow that looms over a botanical backdrop. One or two birdhouses, which have entrances that are too small for the blackbirds to fit through, are perched on the leafy branches along with more petite species. Part of an ongoing series, the acrylic paintings are based on John James Audubon’s Birds of America, an archetypal text cataloging 435…