From April 21 to May 1, the American Academy in Berlin hosted Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall as its inaugural Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitor. In the spirit of Max Beckmann, who spent the final years of his life teaching in the United States, the visitorship was conceived to bring to Berlin eminent visual artists from the US for sustained interaction with students, the art world, and the general public.
Kerry James Marshall was an inspiring first Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitor. On April 21, he led a master class at the American Academy, with art students from Bard College Berlin, the Freie Universität, and the Universität der Künste; on April 26, he delivered a lecture to a private audience, including the visitorship’s key donors and Academy trustees, followed by a dinner in his honor. On April 27, he made a studio visit and gave a talk at the Universität der Künste, and on April 28 he sat down at the Villa Grisebach with Chris Dercon, former director of the Tate Modern, for a public discussion. Grisebach was a major force in making the Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship a reality, and on this occasion they exhibited two of Marshall’s recent works, generously loaned to the American Academy by gallerist David Zwirner.
A key step to making this annual visitorship a reality was taken on November 30, 2012, when the American Academy, with the support of Max Beckmann’s granddaughter Mayen Beckmann, hosted an auction at Grisebach to benefit the proposed initiative. Eminent American, British, and German artists generously donated artworks to the cause, among them Richard Artschwager, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, Julie Mehretu, Alice Neel, Paul Pfeiffer, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Günther Uecker, and Xu Bing.
Below is a selection of images and video from Marshall’s stay in Berlin.