Must Do: 30 Americans Exhibit at NOLA’s CAC

CAC pic

 30 Americans Exhibition

On View: February 8-June 15, 2014

Contemporary Arts Center

900 Camp Street New Orleans

I was lucky to be one of a handful of community guests invited to preview the 30 Americans exhibit before the public opening. Don’t worry, this blog is not a spoiler. However, it’s worth noting some of the most celebrated contemporary artists of color’s work are on display, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems and Kara Walker. If you like futuristic art or Janelle Monae—you’ll be delighted. If your taste is more traditional, you’ll still find the exhibit to be worthwhile.

30 Americans at the CAC features influential African American artists of the last three decades. You may be wondering why it’s not called, Black Americans. The Rubell Family, owners of the collection, believed each artist defines his or her racial, sexual or cultural identity in their art. By letting the artists define themselves in America on their own terms, the viewer is able to ponder larger questions of race, history, media, sexuality and popular culture. It’s worth the small price of admission.


The exhibit inspired me to create an experimental poem.


Dirty 30

we hang           not lynched


free for now


Black        is the new  noun

now  President                    past tension       COLORED ONLY

future   better         or            worse

sit- in         get out                                      go back to

throw yo  hands up

where police can see         them

yes     yes                         y’all

it don’t stop

black    boy           suspect



death  by        hoodie            cotton gin

same difference country folks say

we (Black)     know        ain’t no justice

on our tasting spoon

our mouths taped with the taste

of   history    and       blood



Kelly Harris is a poet and founder/Editor of



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