“Yes, the pantheon of truly transformative, not merely excellent, painters is almost all white, and it most certainly is almost all male. But the best critique of this reality is a parallel reality equally as energetic.
“I suspect every ambitious artist wants to do more than passably good work.
“The value of what we produce is determined by comparison with and in contrast to what our fellow citizens find engaging.
“As it happens, one is either leading or following, and if you are following, then you are behind and therefore vulnerable to the, rightfully, self-serving interests of others.”
Kerry James Marshall, “Shall I Compare Thee…?”, pp. 71-79, in KERRY JAMES MARSHALL: Mastry, edited by Helen Molesworth, New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2016.