Lost Boys: AKA Baby Brother (1992)
Kerry James Marshall does some very thoughtful work. I have seen his Lost Boys series a couple of times, but I didn't really see the depth in them until after I checked into them further. In an interview Kerry relates his reasoning behind the use of collage in one of his Lost Boys works, "And as far as those images, before I started the Lost Boys paintings, I had been doing a series of paintings with the covers of Harlequin romance novels collaged onto the canvas, and those images in the background of the AKA Baby Brother painting, are from those Harlequin romance novel covers. One of the things I was thinking about while working on that painting was in a way, you look at those images on the Harlequin romance novel covers, and they're a certain type of stereotype themselves. They are a stereotype of white women, they're a certain kind of stereotype of the beauty of white women. And then you have this image of Baby Brother, who is this guy . . . I mean that plastic bag on his head. It's like, the shower cap, the Jheri curl cap, and stuff. Well, in a way they're sort of clashing two different kinds of stereotypes in that painting. One is to say something about beauty and desire and the other which says something about a combination of desire and repulsiveness at the same time."
His artwork, oftentimes but not always infused with collage imagery, show an entirely different side of human condition, one from the perspective of a black person. I think it is quite refreshing.
acrylic and collage on canvas
91-7/8 x 91-3/4 in.
Gift of the Women's Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art