New Britain Museum of American Arts' latest exhibit embraces voices of Black artists

Published on Wednesday, 8 June 2022 11:24
Written by Alexis Dascher


NEW BRITAIN – The 30 Americans exhibit at The New Britain Museum of American Arts embraces the voice of African Americans, said Lisa Lappe, the director of marketing. 

“This is a vibrant, stimulating and gorgeous show that showcases works by some of the most significant artists,” Lappe said. 

The museum will present its 30 Americans event from June 17 to Oct. 30. 

According to, the exhibit was drawn from the Rubell Museum in Miami, Florida. 

Lappe said visitors would see themselves reflected in the exhibit's artwork.

“30 Americans is a groundbreaking exhibition that tells the story of Black humanity through the gaze of contemporary Black artists,” she said. 

The website said 30 Americans showcases works by profound artists of the last four decades. Some artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas and Kehinde Wiley. 

“They [visitors] will discover some of these artists for the first time in delight,” Lappe said.

30 Americans unfolds the story of Black humanity through the perspective of Black artists, the website said. 

“Dating from the 1970s to the 2000s, the extensive group of paintings, drawings, collages, photography, portraiture, sculptures, installations and performance artwork addresses over 200 years of American history and considers the powerful influence of artistic legacy and community across generations,” Lappe said. 

The exhibition explores self-healing and determination, and the artists' works encourage the Black body and sexuality of the past, present and future, Lappe said.

“The artwork captivated our guest curators and inspired their three unifying themes,” she said. “They explore the questions: What does freedom mean? What does it mean to be Black and American? What is Blackness?” 

Lappe said the three galleries in the exhibit vary in subjects, colors and mediums.

“The 30 African American artists in this show answer the questions through reality, truth, imagination and wonder,” she said. 

The website said a section of the exhibit “Making a Way Out of No Way: Radical Black Self-Making in Contemporary Art” portrays art through the “economic, aesthetic, cultural and political oppression experienced in the Black diaspore. [The artists] grapple with questions of race, subjectivity, gender, beauty and power and invite the consideration of how we might rupture past stereotypes, opening up a multiplicity of possibilities for self-identification, liberation and states of wonder.” Artwork originated by Kehinde Wiley places ‘contemporary Brown and Black people in settings associated with a white historical past,’ the website said. 

The website said John Bankston explores personal identities and inner landscapes through his artwork. Robert Colescott creates art based on racial stereotypes and cultural tropes. William Pope’s work identifies ‘the language of racism, racializing and classification, probing identity through expected juxtapositions of text.” Mickalene Thomas creates artwork through Black women’s sexuality, beauty and experience.

“I can’t wait for visitors to share this important experience together,” Lappe said.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 8 June 2022 11:24. Updated: Wednesday, 8 June 2022 11:27.