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Kerry James Marshall

One True Thing, Meditations on Black Aesthetics

MCA Chicago



In One True Thing, the catalogue accompaniment to Marshall's first solo show in five years, the artist presents a multimedia range of new work that demonstrates the evolution of his ideas and his ongoing commitment to issues of construction and interpretation of meaning. The body of work Marshall is developing for the book and exhibition centers on the idea of ambiguity surrounding the representation of African Americans in our culture. Stemming in part from the Rythm Mastr comic strip project first developed for the 2000 Carnegie International exhibition, the monumental paintings in this new body of work portray figures in the urban landscape of the South Side of Chicago, inspired by the tradition of old-master paintings, especially the townscapes of Canaletto. Marshall is also creating several photographic series depicting urban settings along with a group of figurative works based on African tribal sculptures.

Table of Contents

vi Foreword
vii One True Thing? by Elizabeth A. T. Smith
x Plates
lviii Guest Artists
lx Annotated Checklist of the Exhibition by Tricia van Eck and Stephanie Williams
lxv Artist’s and Guest Artists’ Biographies
lxvi Artist’s and Curator’s Acknowledgments
4 White Being Black Being: Metaphysics of Race by Charles W. Mills
10 The Art of Hanging Pictures by Helen Molesworth
16 Back to Birmingham: Notes on Kerry James Marshall’s Method by David Moos
22 Guidance for African American Museum Support Groups by Nathaniel McLin
28 TransAfrican Art: Origins and Development by Jeff R. Donaldson