Kerry James Marshall was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955. His family relocated to Los Angeles where Marshall grew up first in South Central and later Watts. His formative years are reflected in the socially charged narratives found throughout Marshall’s artwork. At the core of Marshall’s visual vocabulary is the truth of African American life as he sees it. An avid reader with an insatiable curiosity for information, the themes of Marshall’s work are informed by volumes of magazines, newspapers, books, and films on African-American history, art, literature, mythology, folklore and comics. Western art history also plays prominently in his compositions; with references to artists from Mossaccio to Matisse to Jacob Lawrence.
Now living in Chicago, Marshall has exhibited his works in many important group exhibitions, including the 2007 and 1997 editions of Documenta, the 2003 Venice Biennale, the 1999/2000 Carnegie International, and the 1997 Whitney Biennial. His solo exhibitions include shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Baltic, Newcastle on Tyne, UK; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; and the Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio. Among the many honors he has received are a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship, and a Wexner Center Residency Award. Most recently he was awarded a Skowhegan Medal for Painting. Marshall’s work is represented in major private and museum collections throughout the world including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.