Press Release

Tucson Museum of Art to present powerful African-American art as part of 30 Americans exhibit

September 5, 2018

The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) will showcase some of the most significant African American artists of the past 40 years in 30 Americans: The Rubell Family Collection, scheduled for October 6, 2018 – January 13, 2019. The exhibition will open with a free community celebration and preview of the exhibition Friday, October 5, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

This ground-breaking exhibition explores race, gender, and historical identity in contemporary context while highlighting diverse media, subject matter, and perspectives. Artists included here represent the core of an expanding number of talented individuals who are contributing their voices to the history of art in this country. Many of the works on view reveal not only the country’s changing view of race and class during the past 200 years, but also address the persistence of racism, violence, and marginalization in America today.

The paintings and sculptures are part of the Rubell Family Collection, established in 1964 in New York City by Mera and Don Rubell. It is now one of the world’s largest, privately owned, publicly accessible contemporary art collections. To form their collection, the Rubells visited studios, spoke with artists in depth about their work, and received guidance from gallerists, curators, and the greater art community.

“By presenting 30 Americans, the Tucson Museum of Art affirms its mission in connecting art to life,” said TMA’s Chief Curator Dr. Julie Sasse.  “We are proud of the museum’s drive to present a wide demographic of artistic expression. This exhibition is relevant, timely, and profoundly assertive and brave.”

The 30 Americans exhibit will include works by:

  • Nina Chanel Abney
  • John Bankston
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • Mark Bradford
  • Nick Cave
  • Robert Colescott
  • Noah Davis
  • Leonardo Drew
  • Renée Green
  • David Hammons
  • Barkley L. Hendricks
  • Rashid Johnson
  • Glenn Ligon
  • Kalup Linzy
  • Kerry James Marshall
  • Rodney McMillian
  • Wangechi Mutu
  • William Pope.L
  • Rozeal
  • Gary Simmons
  • Xaviera Simmons
  • Lorna Simpson
  • Shinique Smith
  • Henry Taylor
  • Hank Willis Thomas
  • Mickalene Thomas
  • Kara Walker
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • Kehinde Wiley
  • Purvis Young

In support of 30 Americans, TMA formed a Community Advisory Committee who met regularly to discuss works of art, how to present the exhibition to a wide variety of audiences, build local connections, identify community partners, and support training for TMA staff and volunteers.

Bank of America, one of the exhibition’s main sponsors, is also helping to lead a “Courageous Conversation” panel discussion event at the museum featuring leaders from other Tucson organizations as part of its Diversity & Inclusion effort to encourage open discussion as a way to foster deeper learning and understanding.

“Bank of America believes the arts matter as an important driver of the local economy and cultural dialogue, and that’s what we look for with the local museums and exhibits we support,” said Adriana Kong Romero, Tucson market president, Bank of America. “The 30 Americans collection of artwork inspires courageous conversations that create awareness and appreciation of the differences in our experiences and perspectives. The bank also helps make it easy for more people to attend this and other great Tucson Museum of Art exhibits through our Museums On Us program whereby Bank of America and Merrill Lynch card holders get free admission the first weekend of every month.”

30 Americans at the Tucson Museum of Art is presented by Bank of America, Peter F. Salomon, Tucson Museum of Art Contemporary Art Society, Mike and Christine Hanson, Humberto and Czarina Lopez, and Kautz Family Foundation, with additional support by David Wohl and Betsy and Frank Babb.

Generous support of the 2018–2019 Exhibition season at the Tucson Museum of Art is provided by Connie Hillman Family Foundation, Jon and Linda Ender, and James J. and Louise R. Glasser.

Special thanks to the 30 Americans Community Advisory Committee: Debi Chess Mabie, Dr. Michael Engs, Wanda F. Moore, Sandra Nathan, John-Peter Wilhite, Barbea Williams, and Timothy Williams.

For general media inquiries, contact Kelly Wiehe, Director of Communications and External Affairs, at or 520-616-2687