Kerry James Marshall is known for his work that explores the experiences of African Americans and the narratives of American history that have often excluded black people. The National Gallery of Art presents In the Tower: Kerry James Marshall, the sixth in a series of Tower installations focusing on developments in art since midcentury through December 7, 2013.
The dominant theme of the exhibit is described by the National Gallery as a look at ‘the transport of African slaves to America in the Middle Passage—the second or “middle” leg of the triangular trade of manufactured goods, slaves, and crops that transpired between Europe, Africa, and the American colonies from the colonial period until the middle of the 19th century. Marshall’s works explore the economic, sociological, and psychological aftermath of this foundational episode of US history. In his art, the past is never truly past: history exerts a constant, often unconscious pressure on the living.’