Many Mansions, 1994
Kerry James Marshall
The Art Institute of Chicago
Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas
289.6 x 342.9 cm (114 x 135 in.)
Max V. Kohnstamm Fund 1995.147
Many Mansions is one of a series of paintings by Kerry James Marshall that depict specific public housing projects in Chicago and Los Angeles—in this case the incongruously named Stateway Gardens. Marshall emphasizes ironic and startling juxtapositions of the real and artificial—from the unnaturally cheerful landscape to the three haunting, ebony-skinned figures dressed in nostalgic Sunday best. The title of the painting, visible on the red ribbon at the top of the composition, is a variation on Christ’s oft-quoted remark found in John [14:2]: "In my Father’s house there are many mansions."