'30 Americans' art exhibition explores questions of race, history, identity, beauty

A showcase of more than 80 artworks created over the past four decades by celebrated African American artists offers “a powerful combination of art and community discussion” according to Julian Zugazagoitia, director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The images in “30 Americans” reflect the history and heritage of the African diaspora in America generally and — thanks to the involvement of a community advisory board — speaks to the Kansas City community in particular.

For the Nelson-Atkins exhibition, which has traveled widely over the past decade, more than 80 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and videos were drawn from the Rubell Family Collection by influential artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

The exhibition runs from June 1 to August 25, 2019. Admission is free for members and children 12 and under, $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $10 for students.

The “30 Americans'“ webpage includes information about special events connected to the exhibition, as well as suggested readings, conversation starters, and a Spotify music playlist.

Each year LINC along with its partners the Kansas City Public Library and the Black Archives of Mid-America produces an annual Black History educational poster set and booklets featuring accomplished African Americans from the Kansas City region. Artist featured over the years include photographer/filmmaker Gordon Parks, photographer William L. Fambrough, and fashion designer Cloteele T. Raspberry.

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