Collection Artwork
Kerry James Marshall (born Birmingham, Alabama, 1955)
hardground etching with aquatint on paper
image size: 15 7/8 x 12 in.
paper size: 24 3/4 x 19 in.
Gift of Jack Shear
Inscribed in pencil, lower left, directly below image: 1/50
Inscribed in pencil, lower center, directly below image: FRANKENSTEIN
Signed and dated in pencil, lower right, directly below image: Kerry James Marshall 2010

Object Label

Kerry James Marshall was raised during the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s, and his art frequently speaks to issues of social justice. Marshall’s work seeks to center black bodies as the ideal artistic subject, as opposed to the traditional centering of the white European body. By featuring a black body, without white presence, the image puts the figure and his/her blackness in focus and in control.

The intense darkness of Frankenstein invites the viewer to look closely and embrace the blackness as deep and rich, rather than as an obscuring agent. Marshall invites the viewer to see this black man as Frankenstein’s monster, traditionally concieved as white, thereby implying that whiteness need not, and perhaps should not, be assumed as the default. By invoking Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), Marshall suggests that great care was given to the crafting of the figure before you–this black body is a special creation and worthy of admiration. This re-centering of and investment in blackness challenges our racial (and racist) understandings and assumptions.

–Grant Landau-Williams ’19

From the exhibition: When and Where I Enter (October 20, 2018 – January 6, 2019)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

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When and Where I Enter
Pattern by Fiona McLaughlin ’20
Inspired by the exhibition Opener 28 - Erika Verzutti: Mineral
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.