Milwaukee, Wis. — 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.
"The art in 30 Americans is provocative and challenging, and will explore 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 will feature 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 will inspire discussion," said Keegan. "Our hope is that visitors will engage in dialogue both in and out of the Museum setting. This exhibition is interactive, and so the programs around it are meant to engage a variety of audiences."
In conjunction with the 30 Americans exhibition, the Museum is presenting thirty works by thirty Wisconsin African American artists in Schroeder Galleria, entitled "Wisconsin 30." The installation includes artists such as Marlon Banks, Reginald Baylor, Tyanna Buie, Evelyn Patricia Terry, and Della Wells.
Concurrently in the Contemporary Galleries, works in the Museum's Collection by African American artists and the five-channel video installation Question Bridge: Black Males will be on view. These complementary installations will remain open during the run of 30 Americans.
30 Americans runs June 14, 2013, 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.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
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.
ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING FOR 30 AMERICANS
12-HOUR MEMBER PREVIEW CELEBRATION
Thurs, June 13, 10 a.m.—10 p.m.
Docent-led tours and free audio guides available
Lectures: 1:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. in Lubar Auditorium
OPENING DAY EXHIBITION TALK
Fri, June 14, 1:30 p.m., Lubar Auditorium
William Keyse Rudolph, Dudley J. Godfrey Jr. Curator of American Art and Decorative Arts
COMMUNITY DAYS (FREE ADMISSION WEEKEND)
Sat, June 15 and Sun, June 16
10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Thurs, noon, June 20—Sept 5
Thurs, 5:30 p.m., July 4, Aug 1, Sept 5
Tues, 1:30 p.m.
June 25, July 16, Aug 6, Aug 27
Sat, 10:30 a.m.
June 15, July 20, Aug 17
MAM AFTER DARK: BLOCK PARTY
Fri, June 14, 5 p.m.—midnight
Details and advance tickets at mam.org/afterdark
QUESTION BRIDGE ROUNDTABLE
Sat, June 15, 2 p.m., Lubar Auditorium
Sponsored by Fellowship Open
PERFORMANCE: WATER SIGHT, MILWAUKEE
Sat, June 15, 3 p.m., Cudahy Gardens
FILM: MARK MY WORDS
Sun, June 16, 2 p.m., Lubar Auditorium
LECTURE: WHY HERE?
Thurs, July 11, 6:15 p.m., Lubar Auditorium
Reginald Baylor and Adam Carr
KOHL'S ART GENERATION FAMILY SUNDAYS: ART OF THE NOW
Sun, July 21, 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
TARGET FREE FIRST THURSDAYS
July 4, August 1, September 5
LAKEFRONT FESTIVAL OF ART
The 51st Annual Lakefront Festival of Art will be presented June 21—23, 2013.
The fully illustrated 30 Americans catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Published by the Rubell Family Collection, the hardcover book includes essays from Glenn Ligon, Franklin Sirmans, Michele Wallace, and Robert Hobbs.
HOURS AND ADMISSION
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, seniors, and active military; 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).
Active Military and their families receive free admission, thanks to a partnership with Blue Star Museums. Purple Heart recipients receive free admission thanks to a partnership with Milwaukee County. Veterans receive free admission in conjunction with the Veterans Book Project: Objects for Deployment.
ABOUT THE RUBELL FAMILY COLLECTION
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 www.rfc.museum/ .
ABOUT MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM
Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2013, the Milwaukee Art Museum houses a rich collection of 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 .