Lost Boys: AKA Lil Bit


Acrylic and collage on canvas

79.5 × 79.5 × 5 cm (31 5/16 × 31 5/16 × 1 15/16 in.)

A black figure is placed in the centre of the painting with features that are impossible to make out and whose eyes alone emerge to stare at us. The figure's head is haloed by white forms and letters. Lost Boys: AKA Lil Bit belongs to a larger group of portraits of “lost boys,” like so many representations of the perils of black childhood.

Kerry James Marshall paints this idea of “being lost: lost in America, lost in the ghetto, lost in public housing, lost in joblessness, lost in illiteracy.”
The question of colour—black, in particular—is central to the artist's research, who uses it in all its variations, mixing the pigments of iron oxides and ivory black to restore their intensity and their ability to absorb light.

This painting, which is part of the Pinault Collection, is presented for the first time in the "Ouverture" exhibition at the Bourse de Commerce in 2021.