If the Triangle's art scene were viewed as a sports team's lineup, you'd finally have to call it a title contender. Leadoff-hitting galleries like Raleigh's Flanders, Hillsborough's Eno and Durham's Carrack get on base with rapidly rotating exhibitions. Sluggers such as the North Carolina Museum of Art drive them home with blockbusters and solid thematic curation. And university institutions like the Gregg, the Nasher and the Ackland form a killer rotation. We even have that touted prospect in the mix with recent call-up CAM Raleigh.
This fall showcases the variety of great art around the Triangle, as well as the talent and energy running the art spaces that we get to frequent. Here's a smattering of what's up this busy season.
Not so much a blockbuster as a can't-miss opportunity, Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print, opening at the North Carolina Museum of Art Sept. 23, gathers 26 lithographs, woodcuts and intaglio by the Norwegian psychological master. Drawn from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, these images show Munch's obsessive process. He worked and reworked paintings before moving those images over to prints to elaborate them further, trying to capture the most emotionally intense depiction on paper.
"The Sick Child," which Munch painted in 1885–86, is his ultimate case in point. Haunted by the deathbed image of his older sister Sophie, whom tuberculosis claimed at the age of 15 in 1877, Munch struggled to capture its tragic gravity. He kept repainting and printing her resigned, exhausted profile until he succeeded. Through this process, he decisively left Impressionism behind. Three or more prints of "The Sick Child," done after the painting, will be included in this exhibition.
John Coffey, deputy director for art and curator of American and modern art at the NCMA, hopes visitors will be inspired by Munch's iterations. "Munch was a very experimental printmaker," Coffey notes. "His images were often a mash-up of different processes. He's not making a print that's in any way subordinate to the painted image."
Will we see Munch's iconic "The Scream," which has been merchandised and repurposed ad infinitum? "No, and I'm grateful for that," Coffey sighs. "That image has too much celebrity to actually see it."
Other NCMA shows to plan for are Still-Life Masterpieces: A Visual Feast From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (opens Oct. 21), which features studies by Manet, Renoir and Cézanne, and Word Up: The Intersection of Text and Image (current), in which six young North Carolina artists contemplate media sensitivity.
If photography turns you on, then you might consider subletting a place in Chapel Hill this fall. FRANK: In Focus is a two-month photography festival happening all over town through the end of October. The FRANK Gallery on Franklin Street is the epicenter for exhibitions, panel discussions and lectures on all aspects of photography. Visit frankinfocus.tumblr.com for a full schedule of events.
Circle dates such as the "Artistic Trajectories: Voices in Contemporary Photography" talk on Sept. 29, moderated by East Carolina University gallery director Gilbert Leebrick and including UNC-Chapel Hill art professor and photographer Jeff Whetstone. The next afternoon, regional collectors such as Chapel Hill-based Frank Konhaus and gallery directors like Roylee Duvall of Durham's Through This Lens discuss their approaches to collecting emerging photographers' work on a budget in "The Informed Collector: How and Why to Collect Photography." You can even have your own images projected on the Wallace Parking Deck during an Oct. 13 public slide show.
Staying in Chapel Hill, the university's Ackland Art Museum kicks off its landmark "Season of Japan" this fall. Ten exhibitions include the current East Faces West: The Modern Japanese Print, which demonstrates in 22 works an amazing technical and thematic range, and Pop Goes Japan: Short Films by Tadanori Yokoo and Keiichi Tanaami (opens Sept. 7), which screens their groundbreaking animated work from the 1960s and '70s.
CAM Raleigh opens a pair of shows on Sept. 22. New York-based artist Jonathan Horowitz transforms its street-facing gallery into an election-year media hotbox in Your Land/My Land: Election '12. CAM will offer voter registration and host presidential debate screenings in the space. In the main gallery, GirlTalk: Women and Text gathers artists such as Jenny Holzer, Kay Rosen and Marilyn Minter, who incorporate text into their visual work in ways that critique public discourse.
Duke's Nasher Museum of Art continues a theme of passionate collectors with Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore (Nov. 4). Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone, though ridiculed in Charm City, delved into Parisian studios in Modernism's infancy, accumulating paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, van Gogh, Cézanne and many other big names.
Fold in a hectic gallery scene and an increasing propensity for artists to use nontraditional exhibition spaces, and the Triangle has everything you need to keep your head abuzz with art this fall.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Beyond "The Scream"".