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Friday, October 7, 2011

30 AMERICANS @ The Corcoran



30 AMERICANS @ the Corcoran
There is something lively; something wonderful, something engaging on view at the Corcoran (DC). That something is an incomparable exhibition composed actually of 31 artists/creators. Interestingly enough this portion of the Rubell family’s art collection happens to feature works from artists exclusively of African American decent. At different times past a similar exhibition would have been titled “Thirty Negro Artist, Thirty Afro-American Artists or Thirty Black Americans.”  We are presented interestingly enough “30 Americans” because we are (arguably) in the Post-Black period of American/World history. This is a good thing; we can finally look at and perceive the works as purely esthetics or we can interject the racial/nationality factor as we choose or as the given artist chooses accordingly. These are great times indeed and this is a great exhibition!        

Iona Rozeal Brown_Sacrafice #2
courtesy of Rubell Family Collection















Rashid Johnson_The New Negro
Escapist Social and Athletic Club
courtesy of Rubell Family Collection






Among the featured are many of my personal favorites: Kehinde Wiley (the” Prince” of Painters), Kerry James Marshal (the Dean), Jean- Michel Basquiat (the Rebel), Carrie Mae Weems (the Lovely), Kara Walker (the Provocative) and Nick Cave (the Entertainer). All incredible; as magnificent as they are unique…this is what contemporary art is; art without boundaries or singular definition.














This exhibition is of a pivotal moment in history reflecting a definite shift in the way art will be viewed for years to come. Works and artists that were once marginalized are now at the fore-front and making bold statements “Saying it Loud” as is one of the many themes of “30 AMERICANS.”  The central piece of the exhibition and most talked about is Wiley’s “Sleeping” (h132 x w300in.)




Kehinde Wiley_Sleeping_courtesy of The Rubell Family Collection
 


This colossus of a figurative piece is magnificently rendered, exquisite in detail and equally subtle. The basis of Wiley’s work is rooted in those of Baroque Europe practically as practiced by the Spanish masters; Velasquez, de Ribera and Murillo. The same regality and grandeur is also rooted in much of the sculpture, fabrics and objects found in African pieces from the same era. Only a maestro of Wiley’s expertise and talent could orchestrate this visual symphony of a painting. It is a thing spectacular.





Jean-Michel Basquiat_Bird On Money
courtesy of The Rubell Family Collection
 


Carrie Mae Weems
From Here I Saw What
Happened and I Cried
courtesy of The Rubell Family
Collection
















Carrie Mae Weems
From Here I Saw What
Happened and I Cried
courtesy of The Rubell Family
Collection







30 AMERICANS features over seventy works ranging from the sublime to the challenging of depiction and content; again the essence of contemporary art. Mixed-Medium, found objects, video, photography, and instillation are on view and each well represented. You will leave it enthralled and invigorated. This show can only be fully experienced in the flesh, in person. It is a very intimate thing; a thing to enjoy.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

so, what must be done to get this wonderful work into the hands/homes/hearts of Black consumers? what is going to be done to make that happen?

it would seem that Black artists would benefit greatly from a greater support from their own community, no?

if the cost to own a copy of work by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington cost as much as one of the paintings in this exhibit our community would have never heard their genius.

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