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Watts 1963

Kerry James Marshall, American, born 1955
Acrylic and collage on canvas
Place made
Los Angeles, California, United States, North and Central America
Place depicted
Los Angeles, California, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
On View, Gallery 249
115 3/8 x 135 7/8 in. (293.1 x 345.1 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Minority Artists Purchase Fund
© Kerry James Marshall; Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Object Number
This colorful, mural-sized canvas depicts Nickerson Gardens in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, where the artist’s family lived for two years after moving from Birmingham, Alabama. Kerry James Marshall created "Watts 1963" as part of his “Garden Project”—a series of five paintings that considers the irony of garden-named housing projects in Los Angeles and Chicago. The only autobiographical work of the series, "Watts 1963" illustrates the artist at age eight, with his brother and sister, under a festive banner carried by bluebirds of happiness bearing Alabama’s first state motto: “here we rest.” This painting reflects both the early optimism of the housing projects and the states of poverty, despair, and violence that eventually prevailed.
Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY

1995 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Jack Shainman Gallery [1]

[1] Invoice dated October 5, 1995 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collection Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, October 26, 1995.
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