It was widely reported in the media that the Obamas went to the Corcoran Museum yesterday afternoon to see 30 Americans before it closes on February 12th. A three-decade survey selected from the Rubell Family Collection, the exhibition includes challenging work by prominent African American artists. The Rubells decided to call it “30 Americans.” rather than “African-Americans” or “Black Americans”
because they felt 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.
Whether wealthy collectors should be curating vanity exhibitions from their private collections for publicly funded museums (thereby increasing the value of the work) is a controversial question, but there’s plenty of good work on view–Leonardo Drew’s cotton and wax sculpture Untitled #25, several of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits, and a large-scale Kara Walker silhouette are all included. Despite the ethical issues, I wonder what the First Family thought of the show…?
“30 Americans,” curated by the Rubell Family Collection. The Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, DC. Through February 12, 2012.The show will travel to the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, March 16th, through July 15th, 2012.
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