Continuing its yearlong celebration honoring American art and artists, the Milwaukee Art Museum presents 30 Americans, showcasing the work of thirty-one contemporary African American artists who tackle issues around race, religion, gender, sexuality, and cultural identity. Opening June 14, this wide-ranging survey drawn from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, explores ideas central to what it means to be an American.
30 Americans features nearly eighty paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and digital media art by the following artists: Nina Chanel Abney, John Bankston, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford, iona rozeal brown, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Noah Davis, Leonardo Drew, Renée Green, David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Kalup Linzy, Kerry James Marshall, Rodney McMillian, Wangechi Mutu, William Pope.L, Gary Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Jeff Sonhouse, Henry Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, and Purvis Young.
Placing works by established artists alongside those by emerging artists, the exhibition further compares the power of influence across generations and within communities. Kehinde Wiley’s old master–like portraits of black men made today resonate with Robert Colescott’s paintings from the 1970s–1990s that transpose African American culture in the narratives of art history. Mark Bradford and Shinique Smith from the West and East coasts, respectively, create works that reveal an affinity with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s charged graffiti-based paintings.
Milwaukee Art Museum Website