Kerry James Marshall

Influential African-American painter

The American artist’s survey show of paintings from the past 35 years of his career, aptly titled Mastry, toured the US to both critical and public acclaim for much of the last 18 months, from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to New York’s Met Breuer, before ending at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in July. Along the way he picked up the Rosenberger Medal from the University of Chicago (delivering the winner’s lecture in May), was offered honorary doctorates from Columbia College, Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and broke ground on A Monumental Journey, a 9m-high public sculpture in Des Moines. His figurative canvases, riffing on past masters, comicbooks and urban settings, and populated with characters that are literally black, have helped reshape the skin tone of art history and paved the way for artists like Kara Walker, Chris Ofili and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.