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

30 Americans: Glenn Ligon

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17 Days to 30 Americans(born 1960) Glenn Ligon employs the practice of intertextuality in his conceptual work. This term, coined by Bulgarian-French philosopher Julia Kristeva in 1966, describes how the meaning of a text is not inherent, but rather malleable relative to the time, the context it is read, the knowledge of the reader, and other non-static factors. Ligon’s intertextual works invite interpretations around race, language, and sexual identity. Learn more about the 30 Americans ... Read More

30 Americans: Rashid Johnson

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18 Days to 30 Americans (born 1977) “Black science” is an ideal description for Rashid Johnson’s absorbing photography, sculptures, conceptual work, and video works, through which the artist investigates science fiction, divination, black American history, and hip-hop culture, as well as personal memories. Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans. Learn more about Johnson at http://www.art21.org/artists/rashid-johnson. photo: www.art21.org Share this Post

30 Americans: Barkley L. Hendricks

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19 Days to 30 Americans (born 1945) Barkley L. Hendricks’s large-scale paintings and photographs epitomize black American urban style. His portraiture works infuse realistic depictions of contemporary black people with a certain romanticism. Dignified and fashionable, his subjects are not generic types, but rather recognizable human beings. Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans. To view Hendricks's work visit http://www.barkleyhendricks.com/. Video photo: Duke Photography/ www.collegeart.org Share this Post