Kerry James Marshall

Influential African-American painter

The Chicago-based artist may have hit the headlines this year for the $21.1m paid at auction for his painting Past Times (1997) – a record for a living black artist – but it is his personal campaign to counter the whitewashing of art history by populating it with black bodies – to make history by painting that history – that has proved influential. With his groundbreaking exhibition Mastry receding in rearview, this summer saw a new survey show launch at the Rennie Museum in Vancouver and the unveiling of A Monumental Journey, a nine-metre-high sculpture commemorating the founding (in 1925) of the National Bar Association (the oldest association of African-American attorneys in the US) in Des Moines, Iowa. At the time of writing, the Chicago Public Library has just consigned Marshall’s Knowledge and Wonder (1995) to auction with an estimate of $10–15m to contribute to library improvements and a public-art fund.