Thursday 03/18/21 4PM
Conversations · Exhibition-Related

Kerry James Marshall in Conversation with Massimiliano Gioni

Cover Image:

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (policeman), 2015. Acrylic on PVC panel with plexiglass frame, 60 × 60 in (152.4 × 152.4 cm). Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Mimi Haas in honor of Marie-Josée Kravis. © Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Join us for a conversation with exhibition artist Kerry James Marshall in dialogue with Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum.

In conjunction with the New Museum’s exhibition “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,” the New Museum is honored to host a series of artist conversations highlighting the myriad of artistic practices presented in this exhibition.

This program will be presented via Zoom, register for this online program here.

Kerry James Marshall (b.1955 in Birmingham, AL; lives and works in Chicago, IL) is recognized as one of the leading contemporary artists of his time. Internationally renowned for his revolutionary portraits of Black subjects, Marshall’s work interrogates Western art history—from the Renaissance to 20th-century American Abstraction—challenging and recontextualizing the canon to include themes and depictions that have been historically omitted. Born in Birmingham at the start of the American civil rights movement, and later moving to the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles just a few years before the Watts riots, Marshall’s work is inspired by his own personal history as well as what he interprets to be recurring elements of the American experience, both past and present.

Marrying formal rigor and social engagement, Marshall’s practice foregrounds painting but encompasses a range of media, from comics to sculpture, striving towards a literal and conceptual Black aesthetic. Often, his work showcases the daily lives of Black Americans, either as standalone portraits or positioned within larger landscapes, domestic interiors or significant historical events, though tone and subject matter vary widely. For instance, in 1993, he created two of his most iconic works: De Style, a seemingly ordinary scene of a barbershop monumentalized and distinguished in the grand tradition, and his infinitely more solemn, Lost Boys, a tragically timeless memorial to the violent deaths of Black children. More recently, his work has captured subjects as far ranging as the joy of Black love, to historical activists, to a mining of traditions of abstraction via the Black Liberation Flag. In 2018, as part of the 57th Carnegie International, Marshall revisited his 1999 comic book series, Rythm Mastr, in which he depicted exclusively Black superheroes in response to the lack of independent Black characters represented in the Marvel comics he read as a child. Through his work, Marshall has helped correct what he has called the “lack in the image bank” of Black subjects, and has reshaped the artistic canon.


Lead support for “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” is provided by the Ford Foundation.

Major support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Agnes Gund.

New Museum Digital Initiatives are generously supported by Hermine and David B. Heller.

Generous ongoing support is provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.

Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Support of artist participation is provided by Laura Skoler.

Additional support for education and community programs is provided by the American Chai Trust.

A full list of support for “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” can be viewed here.

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