Kerry James Marshall: Visible Means of Support

Kerry James Marshall, "Mt. Vernon", 2009. Courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Kerry James Marshall, “Visible Means of Support: Mount Vernon”, 2009. Acrylic latex on canvas. Courtesy of the artist; © Kerry James Marshall.

Yesterday, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art unveiled Visible Means of Support, two new murals by Season 1 artist Kerry James Marshall. Marshall is the first to be commissioned for the museum’s Art in the Atrium program, which regularly invites artists to rework the Haas Atrium space.

Over the course of two weeks, Marshall worked with painters from San Francisco’s Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, a San Francisco community-based arts organization, to create murals that depict Mount Vernon and Monticello, the respective estates of founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. According to the website, “Although these cherished sites have been depicted countless times before, Marshall’s paintings [are] quite different—playfully incorporating the slaves who supported plantation life. At first glance, a number of optical tricks conceal them from view, but visitors who engage with the works will discover the otherwise invisible figures so often omitted from representations of American history.”

Installation view.

Installation view.

Marshall discusses the project in a cell phone audio guide that is accessible three ways: Call 415-294-3609 and follow the prompts; download the MP3 file; or listen to the image-enhanced podcast. Visible Means of Support will be on view until 2010. No admission fee is required to visit the Haas Atrium.

Contributor
Nicole J. Caruth is Digital Content Editor at Art21. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, includingARTnews, Big Red & Shiny, C Magazine, Gastronomica, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Public Art Review, and the Phaidon Press books Vitamin Green and Vitamin D2. A regular contributor to this site since 2008, she joined the Art21 staff in 2013.
  1. joy says:

    The picture you are showing is not accurate, George Washington is standing on a Black face as shown in the picture below, why are you showing a different photo of it? Please explain?

    Reply

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