Great America

Painter: Kerry James Marshall

Year: 1994

Marshall takes on our American appetites, whether love of amusement parks, like California's Great America, or our (former) appetite for slavery. The National Gallery's announcement of their acquisition of Marshall's painting interprets it thus: “In Great America [Marshall] re-imagines a boat ride through the haunted tunnel of an amusement park as the Middle Passage of slaves from Africa to the New World. What might in other hands be a work of heavy irony becomes instead a delicate interweaving of the histories of painting and race.”