FINAL DAYS of 30 Americans

Posted on August 19th, 2013

Engaging contemporary art shows will close September 8
30 Americans, Wisconsin 30, Question Bridge: Black Males explore identity and race

Milwaukee, Wis. –  30 Americans, showcasing the work of thirty-one contemporary African American artists who tackle issues around race, religion, gender, sexuality, and cultural identity, will close at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Sunday, September 8. This wide-ranging survey drawn from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, explores ideas central to what it means to be an American.

“The art in 30 Americans is provocative and challenging, and explores how our identities and histories are varied, yet we are all still Americans,” said Milwaukee Art Museum Director Daniel Keegan. “This is a vastly different exhibition from anything that the Museum has done in recent years.”

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.

“This is not a subtle exhibition. It has inspired discussion,” said Keegan. “Visitors have used our ‘Join the Conversation’ boards inside the exhibition to dialogue about their experiences.”

In conjunction with the 30 Americans exhibition, the Museum also presented thirty works by thirty Wisconsin African American artists in Schroeder Galleria, as well as, in the Contemporary Galleries, works in the Museum’s Collection by African American artists and the five-channel video installation “Question Bridge: Black Males.” These complementary installations are open during the run of 30 Americans.

30 Americans runs through September 8, 2013, and is coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by William Keyse Rudolph, Dudley J. Godfrey Jr. Curator of American Art and Decorative Arts.

30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, and is presented at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Helen Bader Foundation, Northwestern Mutual and SC Johnson. Additional support is generously provided by Milwaukee Art Museum’s Friends of Art, Argosy Foundation, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Wisconsin Energy Foundation, Milwaukee Art Museum’s Contemporary Art Society, Brewers Community Foundation, Angela and Virgis Colbert, Johnson Controls Foundation, Stanley Black & Decker, and Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan LLP.

The Museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for students and seniors; and free for Members and for children age 12 and under.

The first Thursday of each month is Target Free First Thursday and admission is free for individuals (does not apply to groups).

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Active Military and up to five additional family members receive free admission, thanks to a partnership with Blue Star Museums. Veterans and up to five additional family members receive free admission in conjunction with the Veterans Book Project: Objects for Deployment.

Purple Heart recipients receive free admission thanks to a partnership with Milwaukee County.

Wisconsin K-12 teachers receive free admission with school-issued ID or paystub.

Don and Mera Rubell started the Rubell Family Collection (RFC) in New York City when they were first married in 1964. Since 1993, the Collection has been displayed in Miami at its current, 45,000 square-foot location inside a former Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated goods facility. RFC first opened to the public in 1994, and in 1998 the non-profit Contemporary Arts Foundation (CAF) was created to expand the Collection‘s public mission inside the paradigm of a contemporary art museum. Learn more at http://www.rfc.museum/.

Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2013, the Milwaukee Art Museum collection houses over 30,000 works, with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and spans three buildings, including the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion and the Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. For more information, please visit www.mam.org.