(CBS) — Chicago is home to Kerry James Marshall, a painter world critics call the best of the best. Focusing on African-American images, his works celebrate daily life.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole got to meet him as the Museum of Contemporary Art mounts an exhibit of his work.
As people walk past his brilliantly colored images of daily life, they are led by an unassuming Chicagoan often called the world’s greatest living artist.
The art works are reflections of what he sees: men conversing at a barbershop, children saluting the American flag, women chatting at beauty salon.
“There is magic to be had there,” Marshall says.
They are also his reaction to what he didn’t see on the walls of the world’s art museums.
His subjects are almost exclusively African American — families enjoying picnics at the beach or a mother waving to her children. The backdrop is sometimes crime-plagued corners of a city, like Wentworth Gardens.
With the nation still struggling with racial injustice, curators say Marshall’s works have grown more poignant.
“There are so many aspects of it that are so relevant to this moment in time that we can all think about and that we can all grow with,” Madeleine Grynsztejn says.
From his wedding portrait of Harriet Tubman, to couples enjoying just being together, Marshall’s paintings also celebrate love.
“When those images no longer become extraordinary but become commonplace that’s when you will know you’ve succeeded,” he says.
“Kerry James Marhsall: Mastery” runs Saturday through Sept. 25.