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Kerry James Marshall, Red (If They Come in the Morning), 2011, acrylic on canvas, 8' x 17' 10 1/8".

Kerry James Marshall

Secession

Kerry James Marshall, Red (If They Come in the Morning), 2011, acrylic on canvas, 8' x 17' 10 1/8".

THE MONOCHROMEis by definition dedicated to one hue. And so it is the modernist format most allied with purity, negation, substance—everything that is not external to the picture, everything that is not decoration or history or politics. But with this exhibition at the Secession, Kerry James Marshall used the monochrome to examine the question of color in all senses of the word, from its role in the history of modernist painting to its historical and even iconographic relation to past and present African American visual culture.

Marshall structured his presentation, which included sixteen new works, around three large-format canvases placed in three alcoves within the central exhibition space. The titles of the three pieces—Red (If They Come in the Morning), 2011; Black, 2012; and Green, 2012—refer to the series of paintings named “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and

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