30 Americans: Shinique Smith

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9 Days to 30 Americans(born 1971) Many found objects, from old fabrics and discarded picture frames to sneakers and T-shirts make up much of Baltimore-native Shinique Smith’s intriguing art. She sometimes incorporates street graffiti and Japanese calligraphy in works that both comment on public consumption and serve as personal reflections. Such is the case with her captivating 2007 sculpture a bull, a rose, a tempest, which she has described as part of a “big requiem.” The work ... Read More

30 Americans: Lorna Simpson

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10 Days to 30 Americans(born 1960) Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, Lorna Simpson’s seductive photography and paintings concentrated on themes of race, gender, and sexuality. She would often pair strategically cropped images of women’s body parts alongside enigmatic text. In January 2011 Simpson offered a very different kind of photo-based work, in the exhibition Gathered at the Brooklyn Museum, presenting re-creations of vintage photographs alongside the originals, exploring the interplay between fact and fiction, identity ... Read More

30 Americans: Xaviera Simmons

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11 Days to 30 Americans (born 1974) In addition to creating dazzling photographs and gripping sculptures, Xaviera Simmons also makes critically acclaimed installations. These often investigate music, particularly cherished LP artwork. In 2006 she created How to Break Your Own Heart, stapling classic jazz album covers on the walls of New York City’s Art in General gallery, where she frequently deejays. “I constructed this installation as a site of sensorial intervention in a heavily trafficked landscape,” ... Read More

30 Americans: Gary Simmons

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12 Days to 30 Americans (born 1964) Gary Simmons is best known for his eerie “erasure” drawings. He illustrates figures and iconic objects with white chalk and then smears them. This technique gives them a haunting, sometimes nightmarish allure as he addresses themes surrounding race, class, and personal history. Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans. To view Simmons's work visit http://garysimmonsstudio.com/. photo: Milwaukee Art Museum, http://mam.org/ Share this Post

30 Americans: William Pope.L

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13 Days to 30 Americans(born 1955) William Pope.L addresses racism, classism, and other sociopolitical ills through provocative performance art, theater, painting, and photography. He is best known for his eRacism crawl series, which began in the late 1970s. In one such “crawl,” The Great American Way, he wore a Superman suit and strapped a skateboard onto his back and crawled twenty-two miles up New York City’s Broadway; it took five years to complete. In 2005 Pope.L created an ... Read More

30 Americans: Wangechi Mutu

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14 Days to 30 Americans(born 1972) On CNN’s African Voices, Wangechi Mutu described some of her work as “feminist intervention.” Her riveting, multilayered collages of women sometimes take on fantastical, cyborg characteristics. Mutu admitted to being obsessed with female bodies, particularly with how they can be exploited for hard labor and then deemed worthless—without beauty and undeserving of respect. “To me the female figure is enchanting and power-filled, it astounds me, it baffles me. When I ... Read More

30 Americans: Kerry James Marshall

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15 Days to 30 Americans(born 1955) Kerry James Marshall was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in South Central Los Angeles. Now living in Chicago, Marshall attributes his style and focus to the years he spent in L.A. during the Black Power and Civil Rights movements. When asked about his time in L.A., Marshall said he felt a sense of responsibility, which directed the nature of his later work. A 1978 graduate of Otis ... Read More

30 Americans: Kalup Linzy

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16 Days to 30 Americans(born 1977) Classic daytime TV soap operas such as All My Children and The Days of Our Lives have fueled many of Kalup Linzy’s hilarious video vignettes. He lampoons the stilted acting performances and risible plots while subversively delivering pointed commentaries about race, class, and sexual identity. Perhaps part of the appeal of Linzy’s videos is the way he flips the casting script. Soap operas have long been popular in the African American community, but ... Read More