Kerry James Marshall: History of Painting
Texts by Teju Cole and Hal Foster
Kerry James Marshall is one of America’s greatest living painters. History of Painting presents a groundbreaking body of new work that engages with the history of the medium itself.
In History of Painting, the artist has widened his scope to include both figurative and nonfigurative works that deal explicitly with art history, race, and gender, as well as force us to reexamine how artworks are received in the world and in the art market. In the paintings in this book, Marshall’s critique of history and of dominant white narratives is present, even as the subjects of the paintings move between reproductions of auction catalogues, abstract works, and scenes of everyday life.
Essays by Teju Cole and Hal Foster help readers navigate the artist’s masterful vision, decoding complexly layered works such as Untitled (Underpainting) (2018) and Marshall’s own artistic philosophy. This catalogue is published on the occasion of Marshall’s eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner, London, in 2018.
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Artists: Kerry James Marshall
Contributors: Teju Cole, Hal Foster
Designer: Why Not Associates
Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 8 1/2 × 10 1/2 in | 21.6 × 26.7 cm
Reproductions: 35 color
Retail: $60 | £45 | €62
Kerry James Marshall
With a career spanning almost three decades, Kerry James 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. 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.
Teju Cole is an essayist, photographer, curator, and the author of Open City (2011) and Blind Spot (2017), among other books. His honors include the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Windham Campbell Prize, the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His photography has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Milan, Berlin, Zurich, and New York, and he has given several distinguished lectureships. Originally trained as an art historian, he has written the “On Photography” column for The New York Times Magazine since 2015. Born in the United States and raised in Nigeria, Cole is currently the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard University.
Hal Foster has been a force in American art criticism since the late 1970s, bringing psychoanalytic and poststructural theory to bear on contemporary art and its historical precedents. In 1983 he edited the anthology The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, which helped frame postmodernism within the arts. Foster began to write for Artforum in 1978 and was a senior editor at Art in America (1981–1987) before becoming a coeditor of the journal October in 1991, and contributes frequently to Artforum, October, and the London Review of Books. His books include Recodings: Art, Spectacle, Cultural Politics (1985), Compulsive Beauty (1993), The Return of the Real (1996), Design and Crime (2002), The Art-Architecture Complex (2011), The First Pop Age (2012), and Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency (2015). He is the Townsend Martin, Class of 1917, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.