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Kerry James Marshall Every Beat of My Heart


Kerry James Marshall
Every Beat of My Heart
Wexner Center Residency Award project
Feb 2, 2008–Apr 13, 2008
Experience the culmination of artist Kerry James Marshall’s Wexner Center residency in this multimedia exhibition.

The exhibition grows out of Marshall’s Rythm Mastr series, an expansive sequence of narrative works that tells a tale of urban life featuring superheroes inspired by African archetypes and African American cultural life. The artist’s residency began last summer with a trip to Japan to study the traditional art form of Bunraku puppetry. He then convened a group of Columbus teenagers to train as puppeteers in order to present Every Beat of My Heart (a story from the Rythm Mastr narrative sequence) as a live performance in the Wexner Center galleries with musical accompaniment by acclaimed jazz drummer Kahil El’Zabar. Now you can see the puppets and sets from the performance as sculptural elements in the exhibition. Many of Marshall’s original Rythm Mastr comic strips are also on view. In the lower lobby, just around the corner from the gallery, you’ll be able to see photographs of the performers and a video about the project that features complete documentation of the performance.

Marshall is an internationally renowned painter, photographer, master draftsman, video maker, and sculptor whose work explores contemporary issues in urban America and highlights the invisibility of African Americans in the history of Western art. The New York Times—in a June review of the prestigious Documenta contemporary art show in Kassel, Germany—wrote that Marshall “addresses the complicated and compromised position of African-Americans today in pictures of direct but subtle force.” Critic Holland Cotter went on to conclude that “in a show intent on destabilizing stardom, he comes through as a star.”

A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, Marshall was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and is now based in Chicago. His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Walker Arts Center, and the Columbus Museum of Art, among many other venues. His work has also been shown at the Whitney Biennial, the 2003 Venice Biennale, and in other exhibitions from coast to coast and overseas—including Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art, which was on view at the Wexner Center's temporary Belmont Building Galleries in 2004.

additional image info:

Kerry James Marshall
Image from Rythm Mastr
Collection of the artist
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