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“30 Americans” is a thorny traveling survey of contemporary black artists’ work culled from idiosyncratic Miami collectors Mera and Don Rubell. It’s about time. The show feels like a great, unruly party with Nick Cave’s awe-inspiring Soundsuit, a riveting, strange, Baroque performance costume; Kehinde Wiley’s 25-foot revisionist painting of a homoerotic seminude black male; and […]

“30 Americans” is a thorny traveling survey of contemporary black artists’ work culled from idiosyncratic Miami collectors Mera and Don Rubell. It’s about time. The show feels like a great, unruly party with Nick Cave’s awe-inspiring Soundsuit, a riveting, strange, Baroque performance costume; Kehinde Wiley’s 25-foot revisionist painting of a homoerotic seminude black male; and Gary Simmons’ powerful installation Duck, Duck, Noose. Even as this show anchors and defines aspects of black art production, the curatorial premise – based solely on race – has been criticized for lacking historical context. But if the show generates interest and discussion, maybe that’s enough – for now. It should surely inspire, provoke and stir up the often tightly mannered and polite boundaries of institutional art.

“30 Americans” (June 14-Sept. 8). Milwaukee Art Museum. 700 N. Art Museum Dr., 414-224-3200, mam.org.

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