Exhibitions - Rubell Family Collection


Exhibition to include work of 31 African-American artists from the Rubell Collection
December 3, 2008 – May 30, 2009

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. The Rubell Family Collection is pleased to have the involvement of PUMA as Presenting Sponsor. As Jochen Zeitz, CEO of PUMA says, “I am impressed and inspired by the dedication of Mera and Don Rubell to encourage important debates. To contribute to this exhibition gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to creative talent in unique and exciting ways.”
Please visit www.30americans.com for complete exhibition information

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