Kehinde Wiley, “Sleep,” 2008, oil on canvas, 132 x 300 in. (335.3 x 762 cm), Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Kehinde Wiley, “Sleep,” 2008, oil on canvas, 132 x 300 in. (335.3 x 762 cm), Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Drawn from the acclaimed Rubell Family Collection, “30 Americans” at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Missouri) presents American experiences as told from the distinct perspectives of 30 African American artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

Kerry James Marshall, “Vignette #10, 2007,” acrylic on fiberglass, 74 x 110 in. (188 x 279.4 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Kerry James Marshall.
Kerry James Marshall, “Vignette #10, 2007,” acrylic on fiberglass, 74 x 110 in. (188 x 279.4 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Kerry James Marshall.

Through more than 80 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and videos, the influential artists in “30 Americans” are significant contributors to the complex dialogues surrounding race, history, identity, and beauty that have shaped contemporary American art and life for the past four decades.

Nick Cave, “Soundsuit,” 2008, fabric, fiberglass, and metal, 102 x 36 x 28 in. (259 x 91.5 x 71 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Nick Cave.
Nick Cave, “Soundsuit,” 2008, fabric, fiberglass, and metal, 102 x 36 x 28 in. (259 x 91.5 x 71 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Nick Cave.
Rashid Johnson, “The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood),” 2008, Lambda print, Ed. 2/5, 69 x 55 1/2 in. (175.3 x 141 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.
Rashid Johnson, “The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood),” 2008, Lambda print, Ed. 2/5, 69 x 55 1/2 in. (175.3 x 141 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

Although it has traveled the country for a decade in various iterations, “30 Americans” is tailored to be a unique experience at each venue. Based on our communities’ histories and in relation to ever-evolving contemporary conversations, the exhibition and its robust accompanying programming will reverberate throughout Kansas City and the region, making “30 Americans” fresh, powerful, and as relevant as ever. Art will be a catalyst for community and conversation.

Mark Bradford, “Whore in the Church House,” 2006, mixed media collage on canvas, 103 x 142 in. (261.6 x 360.7 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Mark Bradford.
Mark Bradford, “Whore in the Church House,” 2006, mixed media collage on canvas, 103 x 142 in. (261.6 x 360.7 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Mark Bradford.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Bird on Money,” 1981, acrylic and oil on canvas, 66 x 90 in. (167.6 x 228.6 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Bird on Money,” 1981, acrylic and oil on canvas, 66 x 90 in. (167.6 x 228.6 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The project as a whole is a reflection of a deep collaboration between the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and a dedicated community advisory group for whose valuable voices and contributions the museum is most grateful.


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