Starting with his early-1980s portraits of the “Invisible Man,” Kerry James Marshall has never wavered from painting jet-black figures, or from using his art to bring hidden stories center stage. His majestic, tender chronicles of the African-American experience have made the 60-year-old Alabama-born artist an art world elder statesman. Now he’s the subject of a major survey at the Met Breuer (October 25 through January 29, 2017). Spanning the artist’s 35-year career, “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” reveals how he methodically channeled canonical works of Western art to paint an alternative history set in slave ships, housing projects, and barber shops. For Marshall, showing at the Met, alongside its global collections, fulfills a lifetime dream. “I always imagined myself being in there, amid others I admire,” he says. Next up on his agenda: turning Rythm Mastr, his fantastical epic comic book of the black experience, into an animated film.
Kerry James Marshall Spent His Life Painting the Black Canon