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Experience the Rubell Family Collection at the Barnes Foundation This Winter

By JoAnn Greco | November 26, 2019 | Culture


From Jean-Michel Basquiat to Carrie Mae Weems, our most trenchant contemporary art has often been created by African Americans. This winter, Philadelphians can experience some of these important pieces as 30 Americans, a touring exhibition from the Miami-based Rubell Family Collection, rolls into the Barnes Foundation Oct. 27 to Jan. 12. “The works span the last 40 years, and I hope it is easy to see the transgenerational relationships,” says Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, guest curator. “For example, the painterly sensitivity of Noah Davis, who died at age 32 in 2015, resonates strongly with that of Henry Taylor, 61, who was a standout at the 2019 Venice Biennale.” DuBois Shaw, a Penn professor of art history, is also excited about the inclusion of Kara Walker’s “Camptown Ladies,” a blistering comment on the “insidious past” left unspoken in Stephen Foster’s jaunty minstrel song. Similarly, Hank Willis Thomas, she says, “appropriates and alters advertising imagery to reveal the disturbing strategies used by Madison Avenue to sell ideas of blackness.” 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215.278.7000,

Photography by: Photo Courtesy Of Rubell Family Collection, Miami/Courtesy Of The Barnes Foundation