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Kerry James Marshall Paints the World in Beautiful Black


Kerry James MarshallKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAKerry James MarshallKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of ArtKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAlicensed by Art ResourceKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAlicensed by Art ResourceKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAUntitled (Painter)Kerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAgift of Katherine S. Schamberg by exchange; photo by Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/Photo by Nathan KeayKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAKerry James MarshallKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA1993; acrylic and collage on canvasKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA1993; acrylic and collage on canvasKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAMany MansionsKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA114 x 135 in.; Art Institute of ChicagoKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA114 x 135 in.; Art Institute of ChicagoKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAA Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former SelfKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA8 x 6½ in.; Steven and Deborah Lebowitz; photo by Matthew Fried © MCA Chicago; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/Photo by Matthew FriedKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMAKerry James MarshallKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA2014; acrylic on PVC panelKerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993; acrylic and collage on canvas; 104 x 122 in.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Jacob Bloom; digital image © 2015 Museum Associates / LACMA, licensed by Art Resource, New York; Credit: Kerry James Marshall/LACMA

Kerry James Marshall is a black artist who paints black people. The men and women in Marshall’s paintings are not people of a range of colors. They are not painted in differing shades of brown. They are painted in the darkest, inkiest black, consistently, exclusively, insistently and masterfully.

“Mastry,” a much-lauded retrospect of Marshall’s work, has just opened at MOCA’s Grand Avenue location in downtown L.A. This is the third and final stop for the painting show, which began its North American tour at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and landed next at the Met Breuer in Manhattan. Critics in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles have consistently called it a must-see show, but I say it's actually a must-see-at-least-twice show.