Kerry James Marshall
MIR Appraisal Services has come
across a wide selection of artists
to research over
the years. From small town Impressionists of the Midwest, to the modernists who helped shape the movements of the 20th century, our knowledge of these individuals is constantly expanding. Within this long list of names, there have also been a significant amount of female artists. While some of their names might not be as well known, we here at MIR want to make it our job to spend Women’s History Month educating our followers of their accomplishments. In transitioning from Black History Month to Women’s History Month, we thought our first blog would reflect the recent Chicago mural dedicated to the cultural impacts of women in Chicago made by Kerry James Marshall.
Located just blocks from MIR Appraisal Services downtown office is a mural commissioned as a part of Chicago’s public art initiative that will be appreciated for years to come. Kerry James Marshall’s “Rush More” covers the majority of the west wall of the Chicago Cultural Center. The piece, which was unveiled back in December, depicts influential women who have made impacts in Chicago life and culture. In arranging these women in a manner similar to that of the historic Mount Rushmore, Marshall brings the societal accomplishments that often go unnoticed on par with the rest of American history. This methodology is rooted at the very center of his own art practice.
Kerry James Marshall, who was born in the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, was greatly influenced by the political changes and momentum of the time. Carrying it with him through his development as an artist, his work focuses not only on showing the struggle, but also the beauty and community of the African American experience that often go undocumented. Marshall’s work focuses on shining a light to the moments that are left out of art and history books, seeing the visual presence of the marginalized as no longer negotiable. Marshall’s extensive knowledge of art history allows for him to not only see the way the art world has developed, but also how he can take his understanding and experience of the African art diaspora and cement it into its proper place in society. His work frequently utilizes collage and African folk art design.
While intrigued by the idea of painting on the very location where he first exhibited, what truly motivated Marshall to complete this piece, as well as charge only $1 for the work, was a sense of civic duty. In an interview with Juxtapoz Magazine, Marshall stated:
People are not driven to make artwork because of some of internal emotional need. I believe it's always because you want to participate in something that you see other people doing. When you look at the history of how what you want to do has evolved, you have to ask: "Can I add anything to it?" Or will I be satisfied just mimicking what has already been done?
Funded by Murals of Acceptance, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to pubic art that captures the acceptance of all people, the work depicts the profiles of 20 women who have made significant contributions to the upkeep of Chicago’s artistic legacy. From art and poetry to theatre and politics, these women have all fought to widen Chicago’s cultural education.
Benson, Eben. “Kerry James Marshall: The Key Figure.” Juxtapoz Magazine - Home, Juxtapoz Magazine , www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/features/kerry-james-marshall-the-key-figure/.
Dwyer , Meghan. “Massive New Mural Called 'Mount Rushmore' of Inspiring Chicago Women.” WGN-TV, WGN News , 4 Dec. 2017, wgntv.com/2017/12/04/massive-new-mural-called-mount-rushmore-of-inspiring-chicago-women/.
Johnson, Steve. “Giant Mural by Kerry James Marshall Honors Chicago Women of Culture.” Chicagotribune.com, Chicago Tribune , 7 Dec. 2017, www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-kerry-james-marshall-mural-unveiled-chicago-1204-story.html.
“Kerry James Marshall.” 76 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy, Artsy, www.artsy.net/artist/kerry-james-marshall.
“Kerry James Marshall.” Art21, Art 21, art21.org/artist/kerry-james-marshall/.
Matthews, David. “Chicago's Own Mount Rushmore? Huge Mural Will Honor Iconic Chicago Women.” DNAinfo Chicago, DNAinfo Chicago, 21 Sept. 2017, www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170921/downtown/massive-kerry-james-marshall-mural-will-honor-iconic-chicago-women.
Stamberg, Susan. “Kerry James Marshall: A Black Presence In The Art World Is 'Not Negotiable'.” NPR, NPR, 28 Mar. 2017, www.npr.org/2017/03/28/521683667/kerry-james-marshall-a-black-presence-in-the-art-world-is-not-negotiable.