October 9, 2021 – January 17, 2022 

30 Americans features an incredible “Who’s Who” list from among the most acclaimed Black artists of the last few decades, including Nick Cave, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley. 
These artists explore identity, triumph, tragedy, pride, prejudice, and wit in a provocative exhibition united by one nation and distinguished by 30 experiences. Being American is only one aspect of these artists’ identities, and their understanding of what that means is as varied as the art on view. Their work provides a dynamic showcase of contemporary art offering an intersectional series of varying gender, sexuality, and class perspectives.
This exhibition asks viewers to consider our places in this country. What you see is both part of a national conversation and an opportunity to contemplate the issues that shape our own communities.
Traveling throughout the United States for a decade with each museum tailoring its own selection of works, 30 Americans has helped fuel the drive to fill historical gaps in American museum collections.
Organized by the Rubell Museum.


Free admission for college students with ID courtesy of 30 Americans Lead Corporate Sponsor Bank of America.

Planning to visit as a group of 10 or more? Please let us know at tours@columbiamuseum.org so we can be prepared to serve you. Guided tours have a fee of $5 per student. Learn more here.


Multimedia Gallery Tour of 30 Americans

Learn more about what you see in the galleries with this multimedia gallery tour. Find the tour stop numbers on the walls near the works discussed and find the matching number here to hear from the curator, professors, artists, and more.

Multimedia Gallery Tour


Recorded October 8, 2021

30 Americans Member Opening Lecture with Xaviera Simmons

Simmons’ sweeping practice of photography, painting, video, sound, sculpture, text, and installation engages the construction of landscape, language, and the complex histories of the United States and its continuing empire-building internally and on a global scale.

This program has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.


Recorded Thursday, December 9, 2021

ArtBreak: Black Male Studies and Contemporary Black Art

The nascent field of Black male studies has revolutionized African American studies with its philosophical and archival focus on the victimization of Black men. Black maleness, according to this field, must be considered a site of sexual victimhood, torture, abjection, and violent death, rather than a site of a presumptive extension of white male privilege and hegemonic masculinity. For this ArtBreak, Dr. Seulghee Lee, assistant professor of African American studies at the University of South Carolina, presents connections between Black male studies and several of the pieces in 30 Americans, including works by Barkley L. Hendricks, Rashid Johnson, Henry Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

This program has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.


Recorded December 5, 2021

30 Americans: From Canvas to Score

The UofSC School of Music’s Bridging Our Distances social and civic justice initiative and the CMA present a creative collaboration transforming visual art into sound. Eighteen student, alumni, and faculty composers from the School of Music’s Composition Department debut new pieces inspired by selected works from the powerful exhibition 30 Americans. The musical companion pieces, each two minutes or less, honor these visual works of art and groundbreaking artists by responding to their message, content, shape, contour, lines, color, texture, and found materials. The creative process culminates in live performances by three outstanding UofSC graduate ensembles, the New Sounds Trio (strings), the Fuse Ensemble (winds), and The Collective (mixed).

Video recording provided by Well Dang! Productions.
Edited by Drew Baron.




30 Americans has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Image at top:

William Pope.L
The Great White Way, 22 miles, 9 years, 1 street, 2001-2002
Digital video, Ed. 1/5
Duration: 5 min.
© William Pope.L. Courtesy Rubell Museum, Miami