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'Some parts are cracked' 


Of course I would be there. To celebrate its 50th anniversary in the winter of 2008, the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill unveiled an ambitious exhibit of abstract paintings and mixed-media collage, CIRCA 1958: Breaking Ground in American Art.

It also featured assemblage art, compositions created from found objects; I could have stared at them for hours.

These works from the last half of the 20th century—including those by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenburg and Andy Warhol—demonstrated "new innovative trends that more directly responded to the growing social and political unrest of the time," according to a written introduction to the exhibit.

However, these artistic trends were lost on those born at the turn of the 21st century. An elementary school class had taken a field trip to the exhibit, then discussed and written down responses to the art. I found this on the floor at the museum.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Some parts are cracked."

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