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Tag: Aileen Wang

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry

Director Linda (Duke) and I arrived in New York a day before the start of the K-State NY Arts Adventure donors’ trip and took the opportunity to see the Kerry James Marshall retrospective at the Met Breuer. Kerry James Marshall was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955 and is known for challenging the marginalization of African Americans through his work. Marshall used his experience in Birmingham and Los Angeles to make visible African American culture and figures in mainstream American art and at the same time, expose African American stereotypes embedded in popular culture.

Photo by Linda Duke

This show, titled Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, is the largest museum retrospective to date and it includes nearly 80 works, 72 of which are paintings. It was exciting to see a Kansas contribution to this important show, represented by a painting loaned by K-State alumni Dick and Gloria Anderson. The painting, acrylic and collage on canvas, is titled Campfire Girls (1995).

Linda and I were inspired to see many people linger for minutes in front of each Marshall work, and hear conversations about details they noticed and what they could mean. People were making connections among the different works also, noting how a particular motif, such as a bird, appeared repeatedly and linked the works scattered throughout the galleries. The conversations germinating around the art demonstrated the power of a master artist like Kerry James Marshall to inspire deep thought and meaningful interaction. What we witnessed reminded us of the important role art, and artists, play in people’s lives.

This blog was written by Beach Museum of Art curator Aileen Wang.

Staff Spotlight: Aileen Wang


I started as associate curator at the Beach Museum less than a month ago, moving from New York City to Manhattan. (My New York friends had a field day making puns about the move.) Since I had never experienced rural life in Kansas before, curator Liz Seaton invited me to her town’s annual Mulligan and town-wide garage sale. For those who wonder, a mulligan is a beef stew with potatoes and vegetables, and every year, the whole town comes together to cook and eat. I donned my plaid shirt and jeans, and brought my own pan and spoon. After going around several garage sales, talking to people, and exploring the two antique shops , Liz and I hit the community park, where I saw two big black cast iron pots complete with their own chimneys, and several of the local men taking turns stirring with giant paddles. The whole scene could have belonged to a Harry Potter movie. I got steaming hot mulligan served to me with a giant ladle by the local plumber/furnace guy. A band of senior citizens played folk music, followed by the First Infantry Army Band with country rock, as we ate our mulligan on stone benches. Kids played bowling with alleys built from bales of hay, and a group of men and women gathered in a different part of the park for an arm wrestling contest. The sun was out, the day was beautiful, and this New Yorker thoroughly enjoyed her first Mulligan. I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received here in Kansas!

Aileen Wang, Associate Curator