Real estate projects in the suburbs sometimes name 'Garden' their ghettos which do not want to be identified as such. In 1994 Marshall executed a series of five monumental paintings titled Garden Project. He reinforces his political message with three additional works.
Made in 1997 the last of these three artworks is an acrylic and collage on canvas 275 x 400 cm, estimated $ 8M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on May 16, lot 5 A. Its title is Past Times, a subtle pun for Pastime to show that these characters do not really benefit from the contemporary world, even when they imitate the whites.
This scene is staged in an idyllic park offering golf and water sports. Far away skyscrapers indicate that it is somewhere in the suburbs. In the foreground on and around a plaid blanket a family enjoys a moment of rest.
The man is hitting a golf ball. The little girl with bunches tries to imitate him, with awkwardness. The woman is in traditional African clothes and the teenage boy does not want to be disturbed when he listens to his music. The dog is sleeping.
There are no whites in Marshall's world, not because he rejects them but rather because his social observation does not apply to them. It is somehow like giving a sequel to Seurat's Grande Jatte after firing the bourgeois. There is no doubt that this groundbreaking painting kept at the Art Institute of Chicago had a decisive influence on Marshall's narrative style.
SOLD for $ 21M including premium