'30 Americans'

'30 Americans' features arts of work by African-American artists who bring race and culture to the forefront.

The Joslyn Art Museum is hosting a multitude of artwork from contemporary African American artist in “30 Americans” until May 5.  

“30 Americans” showcases the talent and key insights these artists have into what their race and culture bring into their artwork.  

Works range from the 1970s to current pieces and all explore a multitude of art forms.   

Ranging from sculpture, paintings, and photography this exhibit host a variety of different ways these artist represent their identity.

Heider College of Business sophomore Danielle Cox said that she enjoyed seeing the different forms of art that made up this collection.

This collection is from the Rubell Family Collection that has been created over the past 30 years.  Mera and Donald Rubell own one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary art that is owned privately but accessible to the public.  

According to the Joslyn website, “Connecting the major themes in 30 Americans is a broader consideration of the power dynamics and imbalances that perpetuate racially-motivated discrimination and oppression.”

Karin Campbell, Joslyn’s Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art and curator of the 30 Americans exhibition felt that this collections is one of the most “extensive and insightful” by African American Artists in the world.

 “This exhibition features many powerful, significant voices in contemporary art and provides an invaluable opportunity to meditate on the complex history and present of race relations in our country,” said Campbell. “30 Americans is long overdue at Joslyn and is a critical component of the Museum’s ongoing initiative to diversify our programming and collections as we strive to more accurately reflect what America looks like.”

Celebrating these artworks is a way of presenting recognition to these artist who highlight some of the most grave social issues that our nation faces.  

Artist Nina Chanel Abney explores her own narrative of being one of the few students of color in art schools.  Her acrylic of canvas piece, Class of 2007, sparked a conversation with her own fellow graduate students when she reversed their races and dressed them in prison jumpsuits in this artwork.  

Abney’s is a prime example of how this type of artwork can begin conversation about topics that we deem uncomfortable but have costly importance in our nation.  

These artists grappled with a diverse set of narratives to create work that is both meaningful and beautiful.  

The Joslyn provides free access for general admission however the entrance fee for this exhibit is $10 for general public, $5 for college students with ID, and free for members and youth 17 and under.  A mobile tour is provided for 30 Americans as community members share their opinions of the artwork displayed. 



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