DCentric » 30 Americans http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU DCentric Picks: MLK Day, ‘Remaking America’ and Free Art http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/01/dcentric-picks-mlk-day-remaking-america-and-free-art/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/01/dcentric-picks-mlk-day-remaking-america-and-free-art/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 19:01:56 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=13420 Continue reading ]]>

Alan / Flickr

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on Monday.

History: Monday marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day and this year will be the first time that King’s memorial on the National Mall will be open to the public. A number of events and activities, which can be reviewed here, are being held on the memorial’s grounds starting Friday and running through Wednesday.

Talk: It’s too late to reserve seats to attend Thursday’s “Remaking America,” a conversation hosted by Tavis Smiley at George Washington University and being broadcast live on C-SPAN. But if you have to miss it, you can check out the official after-event with Smiley and Cornel West at Busboys and Poets. It starts at 10 p.m. at the 14th and V streets NW location.

Art: We’ve recommended checking out the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Design’s “30 Americans” exhibit before, which displays heralded art by black American artists. The gallery normally charges $10 for entry, but is offering free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday. The Corcoran is located at 500 17th St. NW.

http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/01/dcentric-picks-mlk-day-remaking-america-and-free-art/feed/ 0
‘30 Americans:’ Creating a Show of Heralded Contemporary Black Art http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/30-americans-creating-a-show-of-the-most-important-contemporary-black-art/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/30-americans-creating-a-show-of-the-most-important-contemporary-black-art/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2011 16:30:24 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=11237 Continue reading ]]>

Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

Kehinde Wiley, Sleep, 2008. Oil on canvas, 132 x 300 inches.

The ongoing “30 Americans” exhibit that recently opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art showcases work by some of most important African American artists of the past 30 years.

The 76 pieces of art are owned by Donald and Mera Rubell, who hold one of the world’s largest, private art collections. Mera Rubell tells WAMU’s Metro Connection that they noticed a trend in their collection about five years ago:

Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

Hank Willis Thomas, Basketball and Chain, 2003. Digital C-print, 99 x 55 inches.

“A disproportionate number of these exciting artists were these young African Americans,” she says. “Invariably we would ask them, ‘who was your inspiring force?’ Artists are always borrowing, they’re always being inspired by an older generation. And to our delight and surprise, many of those artists were already in our collection.

After realizing they were in possession of a huge web of interconnecting artistic influences — perfect material for an exhibit — they decided it would never work. “We certainly didn’t want it to come across as ghettoizing,” Mera says. “How would that be received?”

Turns out, the artists were totally fine with it. To them, an all-African-American show is a celebration.

The works are as diverse in style as they are in subject matter. Some of the pieces are haunting or provide pointed social commentary, such as Hank Willis Thomas’ “Basketball and Chain.” Others are celebratory.

So why is the show called “30 Americans” and not something that makes it obvious the show is all-black? Donald Rubell says that “the show did not exist because they were African American artists, the show existed because the work was so exciting and so good.”

A few local artists have work included in the show. Read their comments here, or listen to the audio piece here.

http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/30-americans-creating-a-show-of-the-most-important-contemporary-black-art/feed/ 1