The Winter 2018 cover artist paints a monumental mural in Chicago, honoring 20 women who "have shaped the city’s vibrant arts and culture landscape." The 132-foot by 100-foot mural  is his largest work to date.

"People are not driven to make artwork because of some of internal emotional need," Kerry James told Juxtapoz earlier this month. "I believe it's always because you want to participate in something that you see other people doing. When you look at the history of how what you want to do has evolved, you have to ask: 'Can I add anything to it?' Or will I be satisfied just mimicking what has already been done?" Kerry James Marshall being Chicago's greatest living artist (in our humble opinion), it seems ideal that he would participate in this important project and massive work. The work can be seen on the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington Street, and was painted during for the Year of Public Art in Chicago.  

The mural itself depicts Susanne Ghez, Director and Chief Curator for nearly 40 years, The Renaissance Society, Barbara Gaines, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Jacqueline Russell, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Ruth Page, Dancer, Choreographer and Founder, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Lois Weisberg, Longest-serving Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Maggie C. Daley, Longest-serving First Lady of the City of Chicago, Jackie Taylor, Founder and CEO, Black Ensemble Theater, Monica Haslip, Founder and Executive Director, Little Black Pearl, Abena Joan Brown, Founder, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Margaret Burroughs, Founder, DuSable Museum of African American History, Harriet Monroe, Founder, Poetry Magazine, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Co-founder, Goodman Theatre / Dearborn Homes Youth Drama Workshop, Sandra Delgado, Founding Ensemble Member, Collaboraction, Jane M. Saks, President and Artistic Director, Project& and Founding Executive Director, Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Founding Member, AfriCobra, Gwendolyn Brooks, Literary Icon, Sandra Cisneros, Literary Icon, Achy Obejas, Award-winning journalist and writer, Oprah Winfrey, Cultural Icon, Joan Gray, Dancer and Longtime President of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago.

“When I was asked to design a mural for narrow Garland Court, it was immediately clear to me that the site had to be ‘opened up’ in some way,” said Kerry James Marshall. “My solution was a park-like view with a bright sun and stand of trees to bring light and green space to the location while at the same time honoring the mission of the building as the hub of artistic activity in Chicago. My idea was to make of the trees a kind of Forest Rushmore acknowledging the contribution of 20 women who’ve worked to shape the cultural landscape of the city, past and present.”

Click here to read our interview with Kerry James Marshall. 

Photo Credit: Patrick Pyszka, City of Chicago
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