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All Quotes by author - Kerry James Marshall
" Abstraction and representation are supposed to be going down two very different paths, one sociological and the other aesthetic. "
" A close friend of mine described me as a radical pragmatist. I embrace this no-nonsense distinction wholeheartedly. It is a character trait that matches the sense of myself I've had from as far back as I can remember. I am not one who goes in much for magical thinking. I don't believe in destiny, fate, or things like divine guidance, either. "
" Artwork operates on two different levels: On one level, there's artwork as a mode of expressivity, and then there's the other side, where the image is a construction that is meant to engage in a discursive field in order to perform a particular function. "
" As a black person, I'm used to going to places in which I might be the only black person that shows up there. This experience has an effect on the way you see yourself in the world and what it means to be black in the world. "
" At a certain point, you have to decide whether you'd be satisfied always acknowledging the beauty and the greatness of what other people create or if you want to be in the same arena. "
" Blackness has always been stigmatised, even amongst black people who flee from the density of that blackness. Some black people recoil from black people who are that dark because it has always been stigmatised. "
" Clarity is important. Part of what I'm trying to do with some of these pictures is eliminate as much of the potential, as many kind of readings as people might want to make, as possible. "
" Every step on my way to becoming an artist seemed preordained. The right people were always in the right places at the right times to boost me to the next level. I was fortunate to be selected for a summer drawing class offered to teens at the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County. "
" For black people, everything we do has to be ratified and endorsed by a power structure that is white. And that reinforces a kind of racial hierarchy where whiteness is the privileged position to be in, and ethnicity is problematic. "
" For black people who are really dark - and a lot of black people were averse to be dark skinned - it was believed that you'd be so dark that you couldn't see them at night unless they were smiling or you could see the whites of their eyes. At one time, it was a sharp comic barb that got levelled at some people. "
" I don't believe in hope. I believe in action, if I'm an apostle of anything: There are always going to be complications, but to a large degree, everything is in your hands. "
" I don't want the pictures to mean things. But the implication of the image and its relationship to the people that are viewing it is something I'm really interested in. "
" If I go to the museum and see white bodies, black bodies, Asian bodies, Latino bodies, then I will expect to see those things every time I go. That matters a lot. "
" If people keep telling you you can't do a thing, then you need to find a really good reason to continue. If someone tells you you can't do something, how will you know? If someone tells you something is impossible, how will you know? "
" If you ever find yourself on a boat in the middle of the ocean, you look around in every direction and don't see anything. That's a terrifying experience. "
" If you think about the way we experience art, the paradigm is still Western European. If I go to the National Gallery, what am I going to see the most of? I'm not going to see a whole lot of black figures in pictures. "
" If you walk into any magazine store, I guarantee that nine out of 10 covers will feature white, blonde, blue-eyed, slim women because that's still the ideal of beauty. When a black or Asian figure shows up in a fashion magazine, she's the exception, not the rule. "
" I gave up on the idea of making art a long time ago, because I wanted to know how to make paintings; but once I came to know that, reconsidering the question of what art is returned as a critical issue. "
" I have been a stalwart advocate for the legacy of Charles White. I have said it so often, it could go without saying. I have always believed that his work should be seen wherever great pictures are collected and made available to art-loving audiences. "
" In Western Catholicism, darkness was evil. In the colonial and imperial context, dark skin was always weak, powerless, subjugated. If you see these images all the time, they become commonplace, and they no longer become a spectacular or sensational thing. "
" I see life and the world simply as an arena for competition. That's just what people do, and there are always going to be winners and losers. "
" I see myself as having fulfilled a lot of my ambition. All the things I dreamed of achieving, I've achieved for the most part. "
" I stumbled upon Charles White purely by chance while looking through a book 'Great Negroes, Past and Present' in the library at Forty-Ninth Street Elementary School in South-Central Los Angeles. I was in the fifth grade. "
" I think the only value of being in school is that everything you do should be a problem that needs to be solved. Everything should be a challenge. "
" I try to make work about things that matter. "
" I used to always say - and I think a lot of artists think of it this way - that when you see a black figure, the way the critical establishment operated, you can only imagine that figure having a sociological value. They never say the ways in which their aesthetics were equally worthy of consideration. "
" My ambition was never to make a lot of money. It wasn't to travel around the world. I was really just struggling to make the best pictures I could make. "
" My dream was always to be in museums. It's a big and important milestone and a fulfillment of one of my primary ambitions. "
" My first black-on-black picture was 'The Portrait of an Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self.' I started using it as an emblem of this undercurrent of wickedness, malevolence, and irony - all of that. "
" My introduction to art history was like everybody else's. You see an art history book that has works by Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Yes, these things are great. But I don't see a reflection of myself in any of these things I'm looking at. "
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