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30 Americans

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.

Featured Event

A Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates
Wednesday, April 24 | 7-8 pm
This event is at Unity Temple, 707 W 47th Street

Ta Nehishi CoatesJoin Ta-Nehisi Coates, New York Times Bestselling and National Book Award-Winning Author of Between the World and Me, for a conversation about race, community and the future of America as he discusses his book, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a journalist, blogger, and memoirist who brings personal reflection and historical scholarship to bear on America’s most contested issues. He is the author of the bestselling book The Beautiful Struggle and is the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America.

Presented in partnership with Johnson County Library, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and the Office of the Mayor, Kansas City, MO. This event is presented with Rainy Day Books.
This event will be held at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64112.


Juneteenth Celebration
Sat, June 8 | 10 am-4 pm

Priceless: The Power of Art and Community with Hank Willis Thomas
Wed, June 19 | 6:30-8 pm
Macedonia Baptist Church
1700 Linwood Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64109

Clips & Conversations with Filmmaker Kevin Willmott
Friday, July 12 | 6:30-7:30 pm

Race, History, Identity, Beauty: Learning Lab & Community Conversations
Sat, July 27 | 10 am-3 pm

Third Thursday
Living in America
Thursday, Aug 15 | 6-9 pm

KC Artists Respond
Thursday, Aug 15 | 6-7 pm
Galleries L13-15
Exhibition ticket required

Coloring within the Lines
A play by Michelle Tyrene Johnson
Aug 23 | 6:30-7:30 pm

Details on additional programming and tickets for all events will be announced soon.

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; Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; Dick Belger and Evelyn Craft Belger; Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation; Copaken Family Fund; Hallmark Cards, Inc.; Ramón and Sally Murguía; W.K. Kellogg Foundation Trustee Donor Advised Fund; VMLY&R; The Robert and Dr. Phyllis Bernstein Family Foundation.

Bank of America 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. 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 © Kehinde Wiley. 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.
Sunday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 10 AM - 9 PM
Friday: 10 AM - 9 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM

This exhibition will be ticketed.