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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nine pieces of UNC-Chapel Hill art history for sale

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Want to own a piece of UNC-Chapel Hill history? An upcoming exhibit at Raleigh’s Lee Hansley Gallery is your chance. The nationally noted sculptor Robert Howard taught at UNC from 1951 to 1988. In the early ’60s, he was commissioned to make a relief to cover the wall of the sandwich and coffee shop in the basement of Lenoir Hall. There the large, colorful, nine-piece work remained, becoming a familiar backdrop of student life, until it was reinstalled in the Robert B. House Undergraduate Library in the early ’90s. Following that building’s renovation, some pieces of the sculpture moved to the lobby...

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Art review: Ritual and repetition in the Ackland’s annual MFA exhibit

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2014 at 12:54 PM

The annual MFA art exhibition at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Ackland Art Museum used to be a frustrating show. After two years of studio work, the graduates would have to choose just a piece or two from a substantial body of work and fit them into the galleries whether or not they worked alongside those of their fellow students. However, since the program added a one-week solo show for each student in the Allcott Gallery throughout the spring, some of the pressure has been taken off the Ackland group show, turning it into more of a celebration of the graduating class....

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Art review: America the beautiful, terrible and exhausted

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM

The New Found Land: Engravings by Theodor de Bry from the Collection of Michael N. Joyner America Seen: The Hunter and Cathy Allen Collection of Social Realist Prints Ackland Art Museum Through April 13 Every country documents itself. How it does so is at least as informative as the documents themselves. Two exhibits closing this weekend at the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill show American self-documentation from pre-colonial and 20th-century perspectives, adding up to a fractured national portrait that strongly resonates with the polarized politics of the current moment. The New Found Land: Engravings by Theodor de Bry from the Collection...

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Arts review: A Raleigh-ite does Durham's Third Friday

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Before you judge me for never having made the drive from Raleigh to Durham's Third Friday gallery hop until last week, or for having had only the vaguest guess before last weekend about what the Scrap Exchange actually looked like, I have a good excuse. RTP. Seriously. While Research Triangle Park arguably had a point back in the ’60s, when plopping tech businesses in an open field counted as progress, today it functions in the cultural life of the Triangle primarily as a gaping black hole that does nothing but interfere with the cross-pollination between artists and audiences that would be much more...

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An impressive show of video art at Flanders Gallery

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 4:14 PM

It must be something about March, but many of my standard Raleigh gallery stops didn't have new openings this past First Friday. Luckily, that gave me a chance to revisit frames per second, a consistently fascinating, richly meditative video art show at Flanders Gallery. If you're in Chapel Hill or Durham and routinely stick to your city’s Second and Third Friday art walks, then this sharply curated group exhibit, which closes on March 16th, is worth the trip to Raleigh. Many of the pieces are available online, but when carefully installed in a darkened room—many have sculptural elements or play on enormous screens—the cumulative effect...

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Empathy and ritual in art cakes at UNC

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM

This is the time of year to trot out our rituals. We have to eat a turkey on this certain November Thursday and go shopping before sunrise the day after. Maybe we automatically put a spangled tree or a menorah in our houses. Too many of us try to get to the bottom of a bottle in order to flip the calendar over to next year. But what if we could make a thought or feeling ritual instead of just a series of actions? A seminar class of undergraduate art majors at UNC-Chapel Hill did just that on Monday...

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Being Beverly McIver

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM

I wonder if Beverly McIver ever feels like she's chasing herself. Or perhaps passing herself in the airspace between North Carolina and New York. Her new paintings, currently on view in New York Stories at Durham's Craven Allen Gallery, were painted during a residency in New York last year. But it wasn't your run-of-the-mill residency. It was a duplicate of her residency during 2004 that was interrupted by her mother's death—the exact same apartment and studio she left to return to North Carolina to care for her mentally disabled sister Renee. Photograph by Chris Vitiello"Street Sounds," Beverly McIver, oil on...

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rest stops on the information superhighway: Michael Itkoff's CtrlAltDel at Flanders Gallery

Posted By on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

RALEIGH—This sentence has been severely mediated. Typed on a word processor, it was converted from human thought to digital data, then encoded in an email to an editor and now you’re reading it as light from a screen. A hundred years ago this sentence would have been Linotype. A hundred years before that, letterpress. Technological changeovers may not be immediately evident in this sentence, which could have just as easily been hand-set verbatim in lead type, but then it wouldn’t be the same sentence, would it? Messages don’t mean independently from their media. Michael Itkoff, in CtrlAltDel through Sept....

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Politics and art: A rough mix in two Durham galleries

Posted By on Mon, Sep 2, 2013 at 6:32 PM

The Triangle is a liberal stronghold within a North Carolina that’s not. That dynamic has long activated citizens and artists here during the Civil Rights era and the Helms years. The ongoing Moral Mondays response to the current rogue, throwback legislature registers on that historical scale. Two shows in downtown Durham galleries—the group show Speak Truth to Power: Communicating Messages of Social Justice through Visual Art at Pleiades (through Sept. 15) and Amanda Hakanson-Stacy's WRK, Inc. at the Carrack (through Sept. 7)—pick up on the moment to make broad political and social statements with mixed results. These exhibits speak as...

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Nasher Museum of Art names Sarah Schroth director

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 2:36 PM

The “interim” tag is gone. Sarah Schroth is now officially in place as the director of Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Duke PhotographySarah Schroth loses the interim tag as the new director of Duke's Nasher Museum of Art.Schroth, who has been a curator at the museum since 1995—the pre-Nasher days of the Duke University Museum of Art—took over interim directorial duties for the third time in her tenure after the Nasher’s original director, Kimerly Rorschach, left last fall to direct the Seattle Museum of Art. After a committee comprising academic heavyweights and museum board members conducted...

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Vollis Simpson, visionary North Carolina artist, dead at 94

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Vollis Simpson, internationally known visionary artist and master of the whirligig, died in his sleep at his home in Lucama, N.C. on Friday night. He was 94. Simpson’s monumental windmill sculptures, many more than 40 feet tall, are made from reused machine parts, huge rigs used for moving houses, scrap metal and thousands of tiny reflectors. The North Carolina Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, among others, have Simpson whirligigs on their grounds. Four were installed in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. But Simpson rarely left his eastern North Carolina property. Thousands of...

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Friday, April 26, 2013

"The world's best artist" Mitch O'Connell brings modern kitsch to Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Image provided by Mitch O'Connell Mitch O'Connell's colorful, crazed pop-art illustrations have appeared everywhere from the cover of Newsweek (four times) to a recent full-page story in The Wall Street Journal, but you'll have to forgive him for hoping for a good-sized turnout at his appearance at Nice Price Books in Raleigh on April 27. "I’ll be in North Carolina meeting my fiancé’s father," says O'Connell, on the phone from his home in Chicago. "My only goal is that hopefully a respectable line is in place to impress him. "So I impose this responsibility on the people of Raleigh—hopefully it’s...

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Friday, March 8, 2013

CAM Raleigh changes leadership on eve of second anniversary

Posted By on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 11:28 AM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeCAM Raleigh officially opened in April 2011.RALEIGH—As CAM Raleigh approaches the two-year mark, the museum is making changes. It’s also taking the opportunity, in advance of the noise of birthday celebrations next month, to revisit its aspirations. One change is taking place at the top. Early this week, CAM parted ways with Elysia Borowy-Reeder, the museum's executive director of the last two years. The change has been announced internally but an official announcement is expected soon. [UPDATE 4:11 p.m.: Here it is.] Kate Shafer, who has served as gallery and exhibitions manager since the institution’s...

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Stu Martell's reluctant retrospective, Saturday only at Outsiders Art

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM

DURHAM—Out of appreciation for the public discomfort of a unique maker of many various things and deft handler of many different materials—the word “artist” embarrasses him—I’m only going to use his name in the headline. He didn’t ask to be the center of attention, but he’s summoning the tolerance. Photo by Chris VitielloDetail of Stu Martell's "North Topsail Island," a frieze of fused glass, stone, wood and copperMost artists perpetually network and schmooze and pester to get a show at a gallery for a month or two. His retrospective Art Outside the Frame will last a whole three hours—from 1-4...

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Eleven paintings and a giant vagina: Robin Walker at the Carrack

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 2:24 PM

“Decorative” is a bit of a dirty word in the art world. It’s why we say “interior decorators” instead of something like “décor artists.” In galleries and museums, the word “ornamental” is preferred, describing artwork that incorporates motifs from traditional crafts, fashion or architecture into a larger statement or meaning. If, in the context of your work, you scrutinize an aspect or example of craft, then you’re considering the ornamental. But if the work doesn’t mean beyond its aesthetic fact, it might be dismissed as merely decorative. Photo by Chris Vitiello"Juliette the Baptist," acrylic, paper and polyester flowers on panel,...

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

What the ocean saw: David Gatten's films at NCSU

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:31 PM

DAVID GATTEN FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSIONN.C. State UniversityCaldwell Hall G107, 2221 Hillsborough St.Fri., Feb. 15, 5-7:30 p.m. This is the true story of how the ocean made a movie. To be more precise, filmmaker David Gatten collaborated on a movie with the Atlantic Ocean, where the Edisto River empties its freshwater into the ocean’s salt along the South Carolina coast. Gatten put unexposed 16mm film stock into a crab trap, tied the ends of a 50-foot rope to the trap and his ankle, and dropped it into the water. Courtesy of the artistfrom "How to Conduct a Love Affair "...

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Disarming delight: Iris Gottlieb's Inventories and Observations

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Self-consciousness is exhausting. It’s such a drain to have to maintain one’s personality or to display a situationally appropriate persona as one moves from place to place over the course of a day. This is why we cherish those private places where we can let our guard down and especially those rare public places in which we feel comfortable enough to do so. Iris Gottlieb’s earnest pen-and-ink drawings of everyday objects, currently on view at Durham’s Carrack Modern Art Gallery through Feb. 9, provide just such an art experience. Photo by Chris VitielloGottlieb's labels favor whimsy over analysis.Presented simply on...

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Closing Sunday at NC Museum of Art: Project 35: Volume II

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

NC Museum of Art"Despair" by Stephen SutcliffePROJECT 35 — Volume IINorth Carolina Museum of ArtPart II closes Jan. 13Part III Jan. 20-March 24Part IV April 2—June 2 Heading: Return to the Small Dark RoomSub-heading: In which our itinerant arts writer catches the second installment of NCMA’s global video festival at the last possible moment --> When it comes to good art, sometimes late is better than never. In August of last year I wrote about Volume I of Project 35, Independent Curators International (ICI)’s collection of new video works, 35 artists chosen by 35 curators from all over the globe,...

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

UNC School of the Arts graduate Craig Zobel gets under your skin with Compliance, now out on DVD

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Photo by Ben EngebrethCraig ZobelIt’s not every Hollywood résumé that includes multiple Southern art films, a flash animation about a tiny Luchador and an award-winning feature about an interrogation in the back room of a fast-food restaurant, but UNC School of the Arts graduate Craig Zobel is not your typical filmmaker—and his latest film Compliance, which hit DVD this week, is anything but your typical film. In its premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Compliance proved one of the most controversial films there, prompting multiple walkouts in its initial screening. And last month, INDY Week's Neil Morris called it...

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Last chance to see "Season of Japan" at the Ackland

Posted By on Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM

CHAPEL HILL—The word “ambivalence” is usually used to express an emotionless, uncaring state or a kind of personal isolationism. But the term really describes the conflicted state of holding two contrary points of view. Not only can ambivalence be highly expressive, but it’s also the impulse behind any thorough critique. Merrill C. Berman Collection.Shigeo Fukuda, Japanese, 1932—2009: "UCC Coffee," 1985; color offset lithograph.Themes of ambivalence and isolationist tension run through two exhibitions of late-20th-century Japanese poster and video art at the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill. The shows are part of the Ackland’s “Season of Japan,” which displays one...

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Boneshaker author Cherie Priest talks steampunk at ConTemporal in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Photo by Libby BulloffCherie PriestWhy should you head to ConTemporal, the Chapel Hill-based science fiction convention that focuses heavily on the retro-futuristic concept of steampunk? We’ll let the con’s literary guest of honor Cherie Priest tell you why. Steampunk, for those not in the know, is a branch of science fiction that postulates what would have happened if modern or futuristic technology had been created in the past, using the technology and materials available at that time, e.g. steam engines, zeppelins and the like. It’s become a particularly popular subset of science fiction fandom, with many fans creating steampunk-themed outfits...

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Interaction without ego: sarah goetz's Just Between Us opens at Durham's Carrack Gallery

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

The circle and the square. This phrase recalls Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man notebook drawing, in which he exemplifies the proportional relationship that the Roman architect Vitruvius asserted as optimally connecting man to the structures around him. Photo by Chris Vitiello"by how to each other we hold" (2012), suspended paper installation, sarah goetzDurham artist sarah goetz also uses circles and squares to foster connections in her multimedia installation Just Between Us, now on view at the Carrack Modern Art Gallery through June 7. For goetz, however, the connections are not architectural but aspire to be interpersonal. It would be difficult...

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Monday, March 19, 2012

El Anatsui's optimistic objects

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Artists are a resourceful lot. In their hands, common materials become artifacts charged with new significance. Often this transformation is powered by an artist’s imagination or vision of metaphorical possibility. Other times it comes from sheer necessity—one uses what is at hand, almost regardless of the material itself. Western artists typically use found or discarded materials to revel in their materiality or to implicate the wasteful systems and habits that caused the materials to be discarded. There’s a whole disorganized era of “recycle/reuse” art. But this term is a luxury of the First World, a place where an infinite amount...

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Monday, February 6, 2012

What the negative saw: M.J. Sharp's long-exposure photographs at Durham's Craven Allen Gallery

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 5:29 AM

Say the word “click” out loud. It’s only one syllable, but its sound has a beginning, middle and end. There’s a duration, albeit brief, before its harsh, terminal consonants. Despite that fact, photographs are commonly thought of as moments of frozen time. The camera’s click doesn’t elapse, it just occurs. M.J. Sharp, "Ladybanks Rose Ring"M.J. Sharp’s clicks, however, last for minutes or hours. A selection of her long-exposure photographs at the Craven Allen Gallery in Durham through Feb. 11 in a show entitled Light Cache features meditative images of her home and neighborhood, and nocturnal landscapes both local and distant....

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Monday, November 21, 2011

[Updated] Durham City Council greenlights public art program

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 1:36 PM

UPDATED: 10:48pm Monday, Nov. 21.File photo by D.L. AndersonJaume Plensa's light sculpture "Sleep No More," at its unveiling in December 2008.DURHAM—The Bull City is finally taking the public art plunge. The Durham City Council passed a resolution Monday night to devote up to one percent of the proposed General Capital Improvement Project (CIP) annual budget to the installation of public art at CIP sites and other locations around the city, including a priority area downtown and along "gateways" to the city. And it's been a long time coming. The percent-for-art program was flagged as a high-priority section of Durham's Cultural...

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