Kerry James Marshall Paints Big

June 19, 2017

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Portrait of the Artist & a Vacuum, 1981

my black ass smiles a missing tooth over a vacuum i never use

Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Super Model, 1994

photographers ignore my face until i bury it in dirty blond hair

When Frustration Threatens Desire, 1990

black cat black snake black glove black magician take me somewhere else

The Land That Time Forgot, 1992

one two three four arrows pierce my horny neck and body amid lively dead flowers

Untitled (Painter), 2009

why am i a somber black woman painting myself by numbers

Invisible Man, 1986

i’m not invisible only black on dark white history brightened by eyes and teeth

Untitled, 2008

i’ve got a big many colored palette but mostly i paint it black

Untitled, 2009

how’m i supposed to paint my black face using white

Portrait of Nat Turner with the Head of his Master, 2011

master’s much nicer when his head’s severed on the bed

Campfire Girls, 1995

we can’t get in the tent but huddle in blankets before campfire darkening our faces

Brownie – Scout (Girl) – Cub Scout – Scout (Boy), all 1995

lightning reveals dusky faces in uniforms brown green and blue

De Style, 1993

i’ll make your hair a tower an afro anything you want looking cool

School of Beauty, School of Culture, 2012

matriculation to this elite school requires big booties and exotic hair

Bang, 1994

n fourth of july i pledge allegiance to red white and bang

Souvenir 1, 1997

with golden wings i maintain flowers forever fresh for martin and other angels


Slow Dance, 1992-93

morose intimate and slow we dance

They Know That I Know, 1992

hurry up and get undressed

Could This Be Love, 1992

don’t know if it’s love but i love her flesh under green blanket

Untitled, 2008

white birds black birds big birds soothe seaside sunset for lovers

Vignette, 2003

free as butterflies and birds we lope through nature

Untitled (Beach Towel), 2014

you like my white bra turquoise panties and black skin pushing lips full for you

Untitled (Club Couple), 2014

drinks aglow and hands interlaced we nuzzle in style

Frankenstein – Mrs. Frankenstein, both 2009

get ready frankenstein the missus wants you now


Gulf Stream, 2003

on turquoise beneath gliding birds we sail on shenana

Untitled (Altegeld Gardens), 1995

we got more than two hundred buildings almost two thousand units and lots of desperate people

Our Town, 1995

inside white picket fence our kids and bicycles about like yours

Past Times, 1997

on weekends we golf play croquet captain sailboats and waterski in white bikinis

C.H.I.A., 1994

in white shirts and black ties we rake and garden to welcome you to our eight bldgs and
sixteen hundred units

Untitled (Mirror Girl), 2014

you keep posting bills on my door but all i got is a big tit in each hand

7 a.m. Saturday Morning, 2003

this side of street they waitin for the liquor store to open that side they goin someplace

Notes: Kerry James Marshall: Mastry appeared at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles from March 12 to July 3, 2017

George Thomas Clark

George Thomas Clark is the author of Hitler Here, a biographical novel published in India and the Czech Republic as well as the United States. His commentaries for are read in more than 50 countries a month.

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