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30 Americans is a dynamic exploration of contemporary American art. Paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970 raise questions of what it means to be a contemporary artist and an African American today. Whether addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, politics, or history—or seemingly remaining silent about them—these works offer powerful interpretations of cultural identity and artistic legacy.
30 Americans is drawn from the acclaimed holdings of the Rubell Family Foundation in Miami, Florida. New Yorkers Don and Mera Rubell began acquiring contemporary art in the late 1960s. Through their friendships with living artists, particularly young artists, the Rubells collected backwards and forwards, creating networks of intergenerational influence. As a result, the works that comprise the exhibition offer a stylistic conversation among artists of different decades and generations. Minimalism, abstraction, conceptualism, performance, new media, installation art, identity politics, deconstruction, street aesthetics, and the return of figuration—every major development in contemporary art over the past four decades is represented.
Provocative, beautiful, humorous, at times painful, and always deeply compelling, 30 Americans is a dazzling presentation of some of the best art made in the last forty years—and a captivating guide to some of the most exciting talent working today.