Artist Kerry James Marshall, winner of the 2016 Rosenberger Medal from the University of Chicago, will deliver a public lecture, “As Luck Would Have It…,” at 7 p.m. May 15 in the Performance Hall of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.
Marshall has been an icon of the Chicago art world for the last 30 years. Widely considered one of the most important artists working today, Marshall uses painting, sculpture, collage, video and photography to chronicle the experiences of African-Americans and address the lack of portrayal of black subjects in Western art.
Marshall was nominated for the award by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, and the Department of Visual Arts for outstanding achievement in the creative and performing arts through his mission “to populate museums and galleries with representations of people of color throughout the United States and around the world.” Marshall’s work has previously appeared at UChicago at both the Renaissance Society and the Smart Museum of Art.
The New York Times Style Magazine ran an in-depth profile of the Chicago-based artist this past fall, which included an interview with fellow artist Theaster Gates, professor in the Department of Visual Arts and director of Arts + Public Life, where Marshall explained his efforts to change the definition of race and beauty through his art.
“There’s 500 years of history that’s structured around the representation of an ideal of beauty that’s not us,” Marshall said in the interview. “And that’s the place where most of what I do as an artist operates. It’s in that space where you have to, on some level, recover the capacity to imagine yourself as an ideal and then figure out ways to project that ideal into the world in a way that it’s competitive with everything else that’s there.”
Marshall’s work has appeared around the world. He was the star of documenta 12, the renowned international contemporary art exhibition, and he was the subject of a major survey exhibition this past year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, which subsequently appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Marshall also received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997. This year he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Marshall received the Rosenberger Medal during last year’s Convocation. The medal was established in 1917 by Jesse L. and Susan Colver Rosenberger to recognize achievement for contributions across disciplines for “anything deemed of great benefit to humanity.” Past winners have included author Toni Morrison and architect Jeanne Gang.
Jessica Stockholder, the Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of Visual Arts, will introduce Marshall prior to the lecture, detailing his achievements and a sense of his work.
“Kerry James Marshall was chosen for the award because he is an extraordinarily fine painter—a master of his craft—and, in addition, his work addresses conflicts and questions of our time with care, insistence, sensitivity and unusual perceptiveness,” Stockholder said.
To learn more about the lecture or to sign up for the wait list, visit the UChicago Arts website.