Coming through the Back

Artists Collection Firsts

Kerry James Marshall describes his earliest visits to the MCA.

What a lot of people may not know, but I think a lot of people do, is that I started out in Chicago working for Icon. So I was an art handler when I first got to Chicago, and my first encounter with the MCA was as an art handler coming to deliver something here. And I would say that one of the important things about being an art handler and coming to the museum is that you come in through the back. You get to see things in a way that you don’t experience them when you come in to be just a visitor to the museum. So this relationship between the working artists and a working museum, I think it’s a really important one. So you come in where the—coming in where you see how the nuts and bolts of the place assemble and put together how things run. I mean that’s also a really important aspect of my encounter with the museum when I first got here. You know, it's like really seeing the behind the scenes because that’s—for an artist, that’s always as important if not more important than what happens when they put stuff on the walls out in the galleries.

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