After Central Park I strolled across to this wonderful exhibition of one of the most celebrated African American artists who was born in 1955. You can read all about his connections with the Harlem Renaissance here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_James_Marshall
Deeply educated in classical European art, he has imposed black figures onto traditional painting subjects. This gave a powerful insight into African American culture, but also helped to bring this group of Americans into focus, into prominence. At the exhibition (nearing its last day) there were hundreds- if not thousands- of people viewing all this art work. This artist, more than anyone I know, has put the African American experience clearly on the map, in a way that challenges the prejudicial stereotype. In this time of continuing, even increasing racial tension, Kerry James Marshall’s paintings have done a whole lot to put a process of healing and acceptance into place. Read all the texts below and click on the images to enlarge them. Enjoy!
Romare Beardon: one of the influences on Marshall. We have seen Beardon’s place in relation to the Harlem writers Toni Morrison and August Wilson:
What Marshall is doing in so many of these paintings is giving African Americans a place in American culture- putting them in scenes where the dominant culture usually does not expect them to be:
And here, to conclude is an amazing “translation ” of Winslow Homer’s painting into a totally different context: go back and listen to the comments on Winslow Homer’s painting of the African American young man on the shipwreck that we saw at the MET (see previous Blog entry):