What It Means To Be Black in America: A Provocative New Art Show

Collected images.
Sept. 27 2011 11:57 AM

What It Means To Be Black in America

A new art exhibition in Washington, D.C., explores the place where racial identity and national identity intersect.

To Be Black in America. Click image to launch.

On Oct. 1, Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art will unveil a new exhibition called 30 Americans. But don't let the name fool you—this is neither a traditional celebration of Americana nor a sampling of stuffy portraits. It's a compilation of the most provocative artwork of the last decade by black artists. The Rubell family—the collectors who provided the artwork—left "African-American" out of the exhibition name for a reason: "Nationality is a statement of fact, while racial identity is a question each artist answers in his or her own way, or not at all," the family said. The images in this slide show offer a sneak peak at some of the collection's 76 drawings, sculptures, photographs, paintings, and videos, all of which explore the theme of black identity in America.

Elizabeth Weingarten is the associate editor at New America and the associate director of its Global Gender Parity Initiative.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

The U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria Will Probably Benefit America’s Other Enemies

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

It’s Not Easy for Me, but I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 23 2014 10:55 AM This Isn’t the Syria Intervention Anyone Wanted
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 23 2014 10:03 AM Watch Steve Jobs Tell Michael Dell, "We're Coming After You"
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 23 2014 11:33 AM High-Concept Stuff Designed to Remind People That They Don’t Need Stuff  
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 23 2014 11:30 AM A Rope Mistress, the Rubber Master, Sadomasochist Sisters: Portraits in Kink
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 10:51 AM Is Apple Picking a Fight With the U.S. Government? Not exactly.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 11:00 AM Google CEO: Climate Change Deniers Are “Just Literally Lying”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.