Kerry James Marshall quotes

  • Black painters have done all kinds of work. It's the treatment of forms they engage in-that's what determines the value of the work, not whether you call them a black artist or not.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Artist #Black #Done

  • I think we need to remember...that a lot of energy was put into changing things to get us to the point where we are now. But being where we are now doesn't mean that we don't have to put in the same kind of energy to get us to a place where we ought to be.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Mean #Thinking #Energy

  • I tend to think having that extreme of color, that kind of black, is amazingly beautiful...and powerful. What I was thinking to do with my image was to reclaim the image of blackness as an emblem of power.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Beautiful #Powerful #Thinking

  • If you have a dream: Number one, make a plan. And then execute that plan. And there will be failures along that line. Don't let that discourage you. Because failure is part of the process ... make the necessary adjustments and you can be successful at whatever you do.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Dream #Successful #Numbers

  • If you're constantly being reminded of the ways in which your history and your narrative as a people were rooted in loss and decay, then you're in deep trouble. Once you make a certain kind of peace with the past, then you should be completely oriented towards speculation about the future.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Loss #Past #People

  • It's forcing the issue of perception by rendering an image that is just at the edge of perception, which in someway forces you to look more closely and for you to adjust your vision so you can see in the dark.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Dark #Issues #Perception

  • I think the museum should be an arena in which ideals can hash it out, fight it out, tooth and nail, for attention.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Fighting #Thinking #Museums

  • Part of the history of black people in the western hemisphere, in some ways, has been fleeing from this notion that they were black. So I can represent an ideal, and with that, you can demonstrate that there is nothing to be afraid of, nothing to run from, and that, in fact, a good deal of beauty that resides there.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Running #People #Black

  • The first freedom is to be in possession of yourself - to own yourself, to not be subject to the will of somebody else. In a capitalist society, that means having a certain economic wherewithal so that you can do what you wish to do without having to ask permission.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Mean #Wish #Economic

  • No one has a right to occupy the privileged position all the time, so it should be contested. It should always be messy in there.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Should #Messy #Position

  • Artwork operates on two different levels: On one level there's artwork as a mode of expressivity, and then there's the other side, where the image is a construction that is meant to engage in a discursive field in order to preform a particular function.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Order #Two #Different

  • One of the things I recognized early on, doing whatever studies of black history I have, is that even though black folks were transported as slaves, into servitude, when they were carried out of Africa they left empty-handed, but they didn't leave empty-headed. They carried with them the culture they knew, the culture they had, and that culture reconstituted itself in all the places they went.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Black History #Culture #Study

  • Like a lot of young people who wanted to be artists, comics were a gateway for me.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Artist #People #Gateways

  • I came in making choices about how I deploy aesthetics and imagery strategically. It seems to me that's the only legitimate way of making work.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Choices #Way #Imagery

  • The moment you introduce difference into a museum, then the privileged space is contested, and under the most ideal circumstances what all artists want is the chance to be competitive. That's what I think the museum is supposed to be.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Thinking #Artist #Differences

  • The privileged position of whiteness doesn't allow for someone with one drop of Negro blood to be considered white, which allows whiteness to be a fairly pure category while blackness has to absorb an expansive reality of representation.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Reality #Blood #White

  • Before people outside of the Western European tradition started asking to be in there, the people who were accumulating objects for the museum were perfectly satisfied with the narrative they were constructing.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Museums #People #Asking

  • Comics were a place where captivating images lit your imagination and showed you that you can create new kinds of people and worlds.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #People #Imagination #World

  • If you look at the image [ Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self ], it treads on a kind of popular stereotypical image of the black figure, in both its flatness and slightly comic edge. To take that image as a starting point and to render it in a proto-classical medium, like egg tempera, and then use a repertoire of classical compositional devices to make the picture was a way of setting up an engagement with art history.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Art #Self #Eggs

  • I don't see those paintings as abstractions, especially because they are emblems of the inkblot. They aren't smashed together; they are constructed shape-by-shape, layer-by-layer, like any other picture.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Together #Shapes #Layers

  • For black people in the western hemisphere, if you can't generate a mythology that creates models of heroism and power out of the mythology that you had, then that means that somehow the mythology you had was not only feeble and weak, but that you are ultimately a powerless people. That's a notion that, I think, that can't be accepted.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Mean #Thinking #People

  • There's a beauty shop companion called School of Beauty, School of Culture at the Birmingham Museum of Art. I got an email that said a couple had a guerrilla wedding in front of that picture. They slipped into the museum with a preacher and had their wedding ceremony in front of it. It turns out that the woman is a beautician and the man is a barber, they had seen that picture, and they said it was the perfect place to get married.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Art #Couple #School

  • What I preserved in the figures [at Invisible Man] are those white eyes and white teeth, because that's still connected to the way in which blackness, in the extreme, has been stigmatized and the way it was often joked that you couldn't see black people in the dark until they had their eyes open or were smiling.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Eye #Dark #Men

  • In some places you can find an extreme blackness used as a descriptive. I also take into account historical realities that some of this range in color is the legacy of white supremacy.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Reality #Color #White

  • Sometimes when I can't communicate that I'm frustrated, I'll just grab my guitar and I can play out that emotion and be able to cope with whatever is going on. So even being able to, like I said, share this gift with so many other people, it's definitely very therapeutic. It helps me just to focus and to be able to kind of get out those emotions that I'm having without reacting in such a way that's not acceptable in society.
    -- Kerry James Marshall

    #Play #Guitar #People