The art of Chicago-based Kerry James Marshall is many things---politically conscious, historically rooted and aesthetically powerful. Marshall talks about his use of superheroes and the color black in his paintings.
Kansas City, MO – Kerry James Marshall's paintings and sculptures draw from the Black experience and challenge negative stereotypes about blackness. The civil rights movement is the focus of Marshall's Souvenir series, colored by his upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama and Watts, California. And we have one of those paintings here in Kansas City.
Memento # 5 was acquired by the Nelson-Atkins Museum as part of the William T Kemper Foundation's art collecting initiative. It's done in monochromatic tones, and portrays a Black angel closing a glittery curtain on the civil rights era. The four slain leaders President JFK, Senator Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are there, as are parts of the word Remember. Last week, KCUR's Susan Wilson met Kerry James Marshall at the Nelson where he spoke about some of the influences in his work, including geography.