September 25, 2015

Contemporary African American art, "30 Americans" at DIA, Detroit

30 Americans 
The Detroit Institute of Arts 
October 18, 2015 - January 18, 2016

Barkley L. Hendricks
Barkley L. Hendricks 
Noir, 1978
Oil and acrylic on canvas. 
Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the US, presents “30 Americans,” a dynamic exhibition of contemporary art by African American artists, on view Oct. 18, 2015–Jan. 18, 2016. “30 Americans” includes 55 paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and videos by many of the most important African American artists who rose to prominence during recent decades by exploring racial, gender, political and historical identity in contemporary culture.

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat 
Bird On Money, 1981
Acrylic and oil on canvas. 
Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami 

Among the renowned artists included are Barkley Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson and the late Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Colescott. Their influence on a younger generation can be seen in the works of artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Nick Cave, Mickalene Thomas and Kara Walker.

Rashid Johnson
Rashid Johnson 
The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), 2008
Lambda print, Ed. 2/5. 
Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami 

The exhibition is organized around several artistic approaches used by the artists to explore identity: defying Western art traditions; portraying black subjects as real people as opposed to types; sampling multiple sources of inspiration, from historical material to found objects; freestyling by adopting improvisational and expressionistic styles to demonstrate creative and technical virtuosity; signifying through the use of symbols, materials and images that imply or trigger associations about gender, race, religion, class and sexuality; transforming the body’s appearance to examine the relationship between societal assumptions and identity; and confronting American history regarding race, racism and power in the United States.

This exhibition is drawn from the acclaimed Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

Artists in the exhibition

Nina Chanel Abney (1982)
John Bankston (1963)
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 - 1988)
Mark Bradford (1968)
Iona Rozeal Brown (1966)
Nick Cave (1959)
Robert Colescott (1925 - 2009)
Noah Davis (1983)
Leonardo Drew (1961)
Renée Green (1959)
David Hammons (1943)
Barkley L. Hendricks (1945)
Rashid Johnson (1977)
Glenn Ligon (1960)
Kalup Linzy (1977)
Kerry James Marshall (1955)
Rodney McMillian (1969)
Wangechi Mutu (1972)
William Pope.L (1955)
Gary Simmons (1964)
Xaviera Simmons (1974)
Lorna Simpson (1960)
Shinique Smith (1971)
Jeff Sonhouse (1968)
Henry Taylor (1958)
Hank Willis Thomas (1976)
Mickalene Thomas (1971)
Kara Walker (1969)
Carrie Mae Weems (1953)
Kehinde Wiley (1977)
Purvis Young (1943 - 2010)

Detroit Institute of Arts 
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48202

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