In the second part of an interview with Kartemquin Films, artist Kerry James Marshall talks about the three pieces he is working on for the Spertus Museum of Judaica's upcoming exhibition, "Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings."
0:42Copy video clip URL Kerry James Marshall talks about a component of a piece he is working on for the Spertus Museum’s exhibition—a book cover featuring an image of actor Al Jolson in blackface—before going on to explain why he chose to go in a different direction. “The image got too obvious, it was sort of too easy to do it like that. I was looking for something that was going to be a little more ambiguous, that might be a little more thought-provoking,” Marshall explains.
3:35Copy video clip URL Marshall tells a story about a box of around 5,000 family slides he bought from a thrift store. Of all 5,000 slides, he says that only one contained an image of a black person—and even in that one image the “person” was a blackamoor figure in a shop window. “This image seemed to tell the whole story, in a way,” says Marshall.
5:33Copy video clip URL Marshall begins talking about the second piece he’s preparing for the Spertus show, a photographic piece entitled “Shooting Stars,” inspired by the killings of Baruch Goldstein and Melville Herskovits’ book, The Myth of the Negro Past. Marshall talks about the modern-day usage of the Star of David as a gang symbol while displaying a set of photographs of the symbol graffitied throughout Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, where Marshall lives.
17:26Copy video clip URL B-roll shots of Marshall’s photographs while Kartemquin’s Jerry Blumenthal tells a funny anecdote about his two-year-old daughter.
17:57Copy video clip URL Marshall begins talking about his third piece and only painting for the Spertus show. When talking about Chicago’s Black Disciples gang and their adoption of the Star of David as their primary symbol, Marshall says: “This is their war banner, in a sense; under this sign they fight.”