Kerry James Marshal was gripped early in his life by art history books and museums. Over time, he realized that he wanted to poke holes in the “art” dam so that future generations can cause a flood. His obsession with art is not simply about trying to succeed in the art world but about trying to change it, fundamentally. Marshal wants to provide a different perspective.
Checking out the Sunday NY Times, I read an article by Randy Kennedy and thought I would pass it along. This is an excerpt from that article:
Chicago artist “Kerry James Marshall, whose highly anticipated retrospective, “Mastry,” opens Oct. 25 at the Met Breuer, is steeped in classical training more thoroughly than almost any painter of his generation. He’s spent hundreds of hours in figure-drawing classes and anatomical studies, honing techniques developed over centuries by idols like Veronese and Rembrandt, to “get up alongside them on the wall,” as he says.
But the other day in his studio in the Bronzeville district on this city’s South Side, he took me upstairs to show off some painting implements certainly unavailable in Renaissance Venice or Baroque Amsterdam. Opening a plastic bin, he produced a handful of plastic noggins severed from bobblehead dolls — mostly of professional basketball players like James Harden and Sheryl Swoopes, along with the odd Michael Jackson or Muhammad Ali.
“These have become really invaluable to me,” said Mr. Marshall, who turns 61 next month but glows with childlike intensity when he talks about how he does what he does. “Working from live models is too much trouble; it takes too much time. These things are actually incredibly accurate.” Turning a head appreciatively between his fingers, he added, “I can look at them from any angle, and they give me a basis of facial structure and head shape.”
Referring to Mr. Marshall, Mr. Alteveer said: “He believes very strongly in speaking in the old master language. He sees it as a continuum, and he sees things like Conceptual art as aberrant, maybe, but certainly not as the way he was going to achieve what he wanted.”
He added: “That’s why it’s so important to have this show come to the Met. There are 5,000-plus years of art history here, and that’s the history he wants to be a part of and to paint to be a part of.”