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Inaugurating the Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship

In April 2017, the American Academy in Berlin inaugurates the Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship honoring the great Leipzig-born artist who worked and taught in St. Louis and New York during the immediate postwar years. The Beckmann program is conceived to bring to Berlin eminent visual artists from the U.S. for sustained interaction with students, the art world, and the general public.

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 Berlin 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.

Five short years later, the process of organizing and funding the Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship is now complete, and we are thrilled to welcome Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall for a two-week residency as its first recipient.

Marshall’s major retrospective, Mastry, can currently be seen at the Los Angeles MOCA, after successful runs and rave reviews at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and New York’s Met Breuer. Mastry affirms this inimitable artist’s depiction of black lives in painting and their insertion into the history of the Western visual canon. It does so at a moment when we most need an invigoration of our capacity to see and respond to a legacy of absence with the insistence on visibility and knowledge.

In addition to giving Kerry James Marshall the opportunity to connect with key Berlin art institutions in smaller personal meetings, the 2017 Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship is comprised of four events in April:

On Friday, April 21, in collaboration with Bard College Berlin, Kerry James Marshall will give an invitation-only master class at the American Academy, entitled “The End of Criticality.” It will be attended by students from Bard, the Universität der Künste, and the Free University Berlin.

On Wednesday, April 26, a private reception will be held in Marshall’s honor at the American Academy with artists, patrons, and members of its board of trustees.

On Thursday, April 27, a public event will be held at the Universität der Künste (Lecture Hall 158, Hardenbergstrasse 33, 10623 Berlin) at which Kerry James Marshall will present a range of his paintings of African-American life and discuss his work and its impact with Universität der Künste Professor Karlheinz Lüdeking. There is no advance registration for this event and admission is free. Read more on the Universität der Künste’s website.

On Saturday, April 29, a public conversation will be held at GRISEBACH (Villa Grisebach, Fasanenstr. 25, 10719 Berlin) between Kerry James Marshall and Chris Dercon. Two important recent works of Kerry James Marshall, generously loaned to the American Academy on the occasion of his residency, will be on display. Learn more about this event and request registration here.

Photo: Max Beckmann, New York, 1950 (vor dem Bild G. 809 „Abstürzender“ 1950). Photographer: Charlotte Weidler

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