Blog / 30 Beautiful Americans


By Wendy

My friend Melanie Davis-Jones is beautiful and fun. Her approach is no-nonsense as mother of twin boys (who just graduated from Duke) and in her job, as director of marketing at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.
Melanie says she hates to write about herself. She should write about herself more often.
We just had to share her recent post, “No Spinning Allowed,” on the NCMA’s blog, “Untitled.”
In it, she writes about growing up in New York  with parents and grandparents who were college-educated professionals. She writes about being bussed to a white school.

“I grew up with integration,” she writes, “discrimination, the Black Power Movement, women’s liberation . . . a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s. As a result, race is a fact, not a definition, of my life, yet I am profoundly aware of the struggles that got us to where we are today and the obstacles we still face. It is our reality.”

Melanie brings her background with her, of course, and her thoughtful take on the world, when she walks through her owns museum’s galleries to see “30 Americans,” an exhibition of contemporary African-American art from the Rubell Family Collection, on view through Sept. 4, 2011.

Here is an excerpt:
“Last week I had a conversation with one of the security guards, who inquired, ‘Have you seen our new exhibition?’ When I assured her I had, she said, ‘I wore my Afro puff today because I saw an expression of our beauty in some of those paintings and felt proud!’ I do too. As on the day of President Obama’s election, perhaps we are standing a little taller because in these moments, our rightful place in history—and in contemporary society—is indisputable. “30 Americans” is filled with everything from breathtakingly beautiful works to hauntingly troubling images, affirming there’s no single way to be African American, or for that matter, American. Whoever you are, however you identify yourself, it is an exhibition that will make you think, make you smile, make you wonder . . . and after all, isn’t that what great art is all about?”

Read the whole post here.

The Nasher Museum’s exhibition, “Building the Contemporary Collection: Five Years of Acquisitions,” includes the work of 12 artists also featured in “30 Americans.”

IMAGE: Melanie’s grade school class picture.

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