In her recent book of essays, The Black Interior, poet/scholar Elizabeth Alexander writes about African American figurative painting: “Regardless of the artist’s intent, he or she is painting against a history of deformation and annihilation of the black body.” Artist Kerry James Marshall actively engages with this challenge through his vivid canvases that depict African American life and history while resisting stereotypes and teasing with traditional folktales, African and Haitian parable, and American iconography. Join Alexander and Marshall for an illustrated conversation on the notion of the “black interior” and the expansive landscape of contemporary African American cultural thought.
Alexander is the author of four collections of poetry, including American Sublime, available in October from Graywolf Press. Marshall is a painter, printmaker, photographer, and installation artist. His work can be seen in the exhibition Urban Cocktail in the Medtronic Gallery.