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RALEIGH, N.C. —The North Carolina Museum of Art presents 30 Americans, an exhibition of work by many significant contemporary African American artists, in its Meymandi Exhibition Gallery in East Building, March 19 through September 4, 2011. Organized by the internationally known Rubell Family Collection, the exhibition features 75 works of art from the last three decades and includes painting, drawing, photography, video, sculpture, and mixed-media installations.

30 Americans brings together both established and emerging artists whose work explores issues of race, gender, identity, history, and popular culture. By featuring seminal figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Colescott alongside rising stars like Hank Willis Thomas and Kehinde Wiley, 30 Americans also highlights artistic legacy and influence, and illustrates how an earlier generation of African American artists has influenced a new generation.

“The works in the exhibition invite, provoke, and encourage the viewer to reexamine assumptions and viewpoints,” said Linda Dougherty, curator of contemporary art. “They also offer visitors the opportunity to see the world from alternative perspectives and to see that beneath highly individual and personal stories, experiences, and identities, there is much we all hold in common, regardless of race, gender, and history.”

Covering more than 15,000 square feet of gallery space, 30 Americans is a sweeping display across a variety of media by some of the nation’s best contemporary artists. The works of art on view are provocative and dramatic, and many have never been shown in this region.

Highlights of the exhibition include several of Nick Cave’s sculptural Soundsuits constructed from found materials, Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of contemporary African American men that reference Old Master paintings, three graffiti-inspired paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and conceptual artist Glenn Ligon’s text paintings and installations that borrow words from historical and contemporary figures.

Kehinde Wiley, Equestrian Portrait of the Count Duke Olivares, 2005, oil on canvas, 108 x 108 in., Rubell Family Collection, Miami, © 2010 Kehinde Wiley

30 Americans also features work by Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Barkley Hendricks, Gary Simmons, Mark Bradford, Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, iona rozeal brown, and Kara Walker, among others. Twelve of the artists in 30 Americans will also be represented in Building the Contemporary Collection: Five Years of Acquisitions, an exhibition opening at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University on March 10.

The exhibition represents the NCMA’s ongoing commitment to present work by internationally recognized contemporary artists as well as artists from diverse backgrounds. In concert with the Nasher’s fifth anniversary exhibition, which reflects the art and culture of the African diaspora, visitors can appreciate the richness and range of contemporary works in the two venues.

For more information about the NCMA’s presentation of 30 Americans, visit

Visitor Information

Dates March 19–September 4, 2011

Location 30 Americans will be located in East Building’s Meymandi Exhibition Gallery.

Hours 30 Americans will be open during regular Museum hours: Tuesday–Thursday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2008, fabric, fiberglass, and metal, H. 102 x W. 36 x D. 28 in., Rubell Family Collection, Miami, © 2010 Nick Cave

Tickets Tickets are required to visit 30 Americans. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students, seniors, military personnel, and groups of 10 or more; $5 for children ages 7 to 12; and free for children 6 and under and Museum members on the first visit.

Tickets are available in person at the Box Office, by calling (919) 715-5923, or online at

Guided Tours Docent-led group tours for 10 or more are available with advance reservation by contacting the Museum’s concierge at (919) 664-6785. Tours are free with admission.

Resources A 231-page, fully illustrated catalogue of 30 Americans produced by the Rubell Family Collection is available from the Museum Store for $60.

Related Events and Programs The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of educational programs, including jazz concerts, lectures, discussions, and other special events. Complete event and program details are available in the events fact sheet and online at

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