Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SIGNED: Kerry James Marshall

Kerry James Marshall. Crowning Moment, 2014. Acrylic on PVC panel. 23 5/8 x 20 7/8 inches (60 x 53 cm).
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Venerable US artist now represented in the UK


David Zwirner is pleased to announce that Kerry James Marshall has joined the London gallery, where an exhibition of new work will open in October 2014. This will be the artist’s first solo show in the city since his 2005 presentation at the Camden Arts Centre.   

With a career spanning almost three decades, Marshall is well known for his paintings depicting actual and imagined events from African-American history. His complex and multilayered portrayals of youths, interiors, nudes, housing estate gardens, land- and seascapes synthesize different traditions and genres, while seeking to counter stereotypical representations of black people in society. Engaging with issues of identity and individualism, he frequently depicts his figures in an extreme opaque, black color, which stylizes their appearance while being a literal and rhetorical reference to the term black and its diametric opposition to the white “mainstream.” With art history today acknowledged as having been written from the perspective of white Western artists, Marshall assimilates the limitations and contradictions inherent in its styles, subjects, and chronologies, creating highly personalized works that appear recognizable and unfamiliar at the same time.

Marshall also produces drawings in the style of comic books, sculptural installations, photography, and video. As with his paintings, these works accumulate various stylistic influences to address the historiography of black art, while at the same time drawing attention to the fact that they are not inherently partisan because their subjects are black. 

For his first show with David Zwirner, Marshall will present new paintings that collectively examine notions of observing, witnessing, and exhibiting. While central to the relationship between viewer and artwork, these overarching concepts are typically steeped in conventions that render them passive acts. Marshall veers away from common expectations of how works are displayed to be seen, using the etymological differences between looking and seeing as his point of departure for a series of portraits where the subjects’ dissociated stares seem as defiant as they are mystifying. A fully illustrated book is forthcoming by the gallery’s new publishing program. 

Kerry James Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama. He studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, earning his B.F.A. in 1978 and an honorary doctorate in 1999. 

Marshall has exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States since the late 1970s and early 1980s. His work is currently the subject of a major survey entitled Painting and Other Stuff. Marking the most comprehensive presentation of his work to date, the exhibition was rst on view in 2013 at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen in Antwerp, before traveling to the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen earlier this year. The show is co-hosted by two venues in Spain, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona (June 11 to October 26, 2014) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid  (June 13 to October 26, 2014). 

Other prominent institutions which have presented solo shows include the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2013); Secession, Vienna (2012); Vancouver Art Gallery (2010); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2009); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2008); Camden Arts Centre, London (2005); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2003); The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York (both 1998). 

In 2014, Marshall was the recipient of the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, an award given annually by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Other prestigious awards include a 1997 grant from the MacArthur Foundation and a 1991 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Marshall lives and works in Chicago.

In addition to David Zwirner, the artist is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York and Koplin Del Rio in Los Angeles. 

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