30 Americans

30 Americans
Library Shelf Location 15.USSI
Publication Date 2014


Since the Rubell Family started collecting in the 1960’s, they have always collected African-American artists as a part of their broader mission to collect the most interesting art of our time. Approximately three years ago, they found there was a critical mass of emerging African-American artists, and began the process of understanding what seemed to be a new movement. When they asked these artists about their influences, they heard some of the same names over and over: Robert Colescott, Renée Green, David Hammons, Barkley Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, and Carrie Mae Weems. They had been collecting almost all of those artists for decades. Perfect conditions for a new exhibition.

As they explored the possibility of a show, they were deeply influenced by a series of outstanding exhibitions around the country focusing on African-American artists, including the “Freestyle” and “Frequency” shows at the Studio Museum of Harlem; “Black Is, Black Ain’t” at the Renaissance Society; the Barkley Hendricks show at the Nasher Art Museum at Duke University; the David Hammons show at P.S.1; and the museum retrospectives of Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Lorna Simpson and Kara Walker.

As the Rubells explain, “We have spent the last three years traveling everywhere we can, speaking to as many artists, critics, and curators as we can, finding and acquiring the best work we can.” The result is a show of more than 200 works of art, exhibited in 27 galleries occupying the entire 45,000 square-foot exhibition space of the Rubell Family Collection in Miami.

As the show evolved, they decided to call it “30 Americans.” “Americans,” rather than “African-Americans” or “Black Americans” because nationality is a statement of fact, while racial identity is a question each artist answers in his or her own way, or not at all. And the number 30 because the Rubells acknowledge that this show does not include everyone who could be in it. In fact, between the time the show’s name was established and the exhibition was installed, the actual number of artists grew to 31.


Featuring eassys by
Robert Hobbs, Glenn Ligon, Franklin Sirmans and Michele Wallace


Artists in the exhibition

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
Purvis Young

ISBN 9780982119594
Quantity 1
Pages 224 pages. 3.2 x 22.2 x 27.9 cm
Authors Robert Hobbs, Glenn Ligon, Franklin Sirmans, Michele Wallace
Format Hardback
Publisher Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Related Artists Nina Chanel Abney, John Bankston, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford, iona rozeal brown, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Noah Davis, Leonardo Drew, Renee Green, David Hammons, Barkley L Hendricks, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Kalup Linzy, Kerry James Marshall, Rodney McMillian, Wangechi Mutu, Gary Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Jeff Sonhouse, Henry Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, Purvis Young, William Pope L
Category Art from a specific country
Artist's Nationality American (USA)
Language English

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