'30 Americans' Explores Black Identity In America

Washington D.C. based  Corcoran Gallery of Art recently unveiled a new exhibition entitled 30 Americans, a compilation of provocative artwork and photography by black artists. According to Slate.com:

The Rubell family—the collectors who provided the artwork—left "African-American" out of the exhibition name for a reason: "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," the family said. The images in this slide show offer a sneak peak at some of the collection's 76 drawings, sculptures, photographs, paintings, and videos, all of which explore the theme of black identity in America.

While a few of the images are a little too artsy for their own good, others, like Xaviera Simmons One Day and Back Then (Pictured above) stop you in your tracks. Of the photo, Simmons, who portrays the figure says "“I look a lot at the history of photography and painting and how different figures are placed in them. Simmons won’t comment directly on what she intended to say with this work, but Corcoran curator Sarah Newman gives it a shot: “To me it seems to [invoke] the agricultural history of the South.”

Other pieces, such as Barkely L. Hendricks's piece Noir and Robert Colescott's Pygmalion, explore how style and substance converged to help form contemporary black identity and the pressure put on black women to conform to white standards of beauty, while another piece, Sleep by Kehinde Wiley, (depicting a phine, muscular man---now I got your attention!) uses Jean-Bernard Restout's 1771 painting Somus as inspiration to challenge the lack of black men in Western paintings.

View the rest of the images HERE.


Thank you for this! I am going to look at it.