After the success of his 2016 retrospective ‘Mastry’ – which toured from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, to the Met and LA MOCA – what next for Kerry James Marshall? At David Zwirner he’s setting himself up with a grand, vaingloriously gesture in a set of works grouped under the title ‘History of Painting’. ‘It seems to me the only way forward is to take up a challenge that seems so outsized as to present you with the real possibility of a massive failure’ he explained in a recent interview.
Marshall will address landscape, still life, portraiture, abstraction, and history painting, yes, but also the history of painting in terms of process and industry, from the acquisition of knowledge, through exhibition, auction, ownership and collection. In the moving image era, why make paintings? Marshall asks. The conclusion suggested by his arch auction house paintings – listing artworks as if they were second hand goods on a Xeroxed flyer (Untitled (Sotheby’s Sale), 2005) – is all rooted in big ideas and sheer enjoyment.
-- Hettie Judah
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