King of the black aesthetic: Kerry James Marshall

“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,” said artist Kerry James Marshall. The alluring black figures in his paintings use light to only reveal their prominent features and beautiful silhouettes. They’re compelling and vulnerable. Popping out like holograms, their flesh and bone (the same color) almost collide into the viewer’s eyes, forcibly exposing the invisible; casting a looming shadow over the false heroic American narrative.

"Our Town" (1995)
“Our Town” (1995)
Untitled, 2009
“Untitled” (2009)
School of Beauty, School of Culture
“School of Beauty, School of Culture” (2012)
"Many Mansions" (1994)
“Many Mansions” (1994)
“Bang” (1994)
Black Star II (2012)
“Black Star II” (2012)

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