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30 Americans
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30 Americans

Drawn from the acclaimed Rubell Family Collection, 30 Americans presents American experiences as told from the distinct perspectives of 30 African American artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

Through more than 80 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and videos, the influential artists in 30 Americans are significant contributors to the complex dialogues surrounding race, history, identity, and beauty that have shaped contemporary American art and life for the past four decades.

Although it has traveled the country for a decade in various iterations, 30 Americans is tailored to be a unique experience at each venue. Based on our communities’ histories and in relation to ever-evolving contemporary conversations, the exhibition and its robust accompanying programming will reverberate throughout Kansas City and the region, making 30 Americans fresh, powerful, and as relevant as ever. Art will be a catalyst for community and conversation.

The project as a whole is a reflection of a deep collaboration between The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and a dedicated community advisory group for whose valuable voices and contributions the museum is most grateful.

Blue Star Museums

More Ways to Engage

Spotify Playlist
Selections inspired by the Nelson-Atkins presentation of 30 Americans—an exhibition of four decades of contemporary African American art exclusively drawn from the Rubell Family Collection. Playlist created by the project’s Kansas City-based Community Advisory.

Reading List
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library 30 Americans Reading List

Studio Art Classes
Studio Classes for Teens and Adults (PDF)

Conversation Starters
In this printable conversation starter, find an introduction to the exhibition 30 Americans, several suggested works to look at with ages 10 & up, and questions about the exhibition’s themes that can be used with any work of art. A list of related books for children is also included.

30 Americans Conversations (PDF)

Research Guide
Learn more about the 30 Americans whose art is included in this exhibition with this Research Guide. Visit the Spencer Art Reference Library in the Bloch Building to browse a display of these titles.

When you visit, be sure to use #30AmericansKC in your social media posts.

Community Advisory Group
To ensure that a multiplicity of voices would inform 30 Americans, community members were invited to join the exhibition planning process. The museum was pleased to welcome both existing and new partners into this dynamic collaboration—one marked by diverse perspectives from a range of ages, racial backgrounds, professions, and personal experiences.


The New Negro by Rashid Johnson

Whatever You Want by Mickalene Thomas

Sacrifice 2 by Rozeal

30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

In Kansas City this exhibition is supported by Christy and Bill Gautreaux; Yvette and Leo Morton; Sharon and Lou Smith; Linda Woodsmall DeBruce and Paul DeBruce; Bank of America; Sara and Bill Morgan; Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation; Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts; Estelle and Morton Sosland/Sosland Foundation; Dick Belger and Evelyn Craft Belger; Kay and John Callison; Copaken Family Fund; Nancy and Rick Green; Jill and Don Hall, Jr.; Hallmark Cards, Inc.; Sharon and John Hoffman; The McDonnell Foundation; Mary and David Schulte; The Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust; Ramón and Sally Murguía; W.K. Kellogg Foundation Trustee Donor Advised Fund; VMLY&R; The Robert and Dr. Phyllis Bernstein Family Foundation; Scott Francis and Susan Gordon; Francis Family Foundation Discretionary Fund; Peter G. Goulet; and Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law. As of April 18, 2019.

The Independent

Images: Top: Kehinde Wiley, Sleep, 2008. Oil on canvas, 132 x 300 in. (335.3 x 762 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Kehinde Wiley. Bottom: Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), 2008. Lambda print, Ed. 2/5, 69 x 55 1/2 inches (175.3 x 141 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Rashid Johnson. Mickalene Thomas, Whatever You Want, 2004. Acrylic, rhinestone and enamel on panel, 48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Mickalene Thomas/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Rozeal, Sacrifice #2: it has to last (after Yoshitoshi’s “Drowsy: the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era”), 2007. Enamel, acrylic and paper on wooden panel, 52 x 38 inches (132 x 96.5 cm). Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Art © Rozeal.