About this blog

This is my blog on the arts scene of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and surrounding Triangle communities. I'll focus on visual arts and the 2ndFriday Artwalk and other visual art events but that doesn't mean I won't chat about music, literary events, film or anything else in the local creative world. Please email with ideas, links, comments or brickbats. [I have comment moderation on so if you don't see your comment right away that means that I haven't had a chance to approve it yet. Sorry, but the spammers.....]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Part 1: A fond farewell to the Carolina Collects Exhibit at the Ackland

The Ackland Museum on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (the last bit redundant in my mind) is a terrific resource for the art community. Easy to get to by foot, bike and bus with a very good permanent collection and free. Did I mention free?

They have had some excellent shows during the 15 or so years I've lived here but none approach the recently closed Carolina Collects exhibition. And forget any IMHO idea. I wrote about it here when you, dear reader, had a chance to go. No more.

I rode the bike over Sunday for the final day of the exhibit. Walked into the Ackland in my paint splattered, ragged jeans and the ratty old Man Ray t-shirt looking like someone who the people at the corner liquor store would react to by reaching down for the double barrel shotgun they keep under the counter for just such an occasion. The Ackland staff didn't blink.

On the other hand they did take the weapon from my hand -- that being the pen I started to write with in my little journal to record notes on the show. The guard was quite the gentleman and brought me a pencil; apparently the acceptable implement for recording musings on art. I'm guessing they feel like one should have the flexibility to change one's mind. I was rating paintings on an arbitrary 5 star scale and several times changed my mind and needed the eraser. So I'm thinking they had a point.

I started in the modern room, mostly post 1970. I wanted to move counterclockwise through the rooms ending at the beginning. Don't ask why. The modern room mostly left me unmoved but maybe I don't have the guts. The small Louise Bourgeois sculpture Henrietta is quite lovely but I prefer LB at her most eccentric and this is a bit tame. The Gerhard Richter 1992 untitled abstract was interesting with its scraped paints and striations suggesting skyscrapers in sedate blues and greys. But these were post-60 pieces by older artists. My fav here was a pair of large (maybe 3' tall) ceramics by Betty Woodman, very Matisse-like constructions with beautiful colors, shapes and textures. Either the owners don't have children or grandkids or they lock them away when the kiddies come by to visit. They'd be too, too fun to play with! I expect that Humpty Dumpty would be pretty hard to put together again.

I'll end part one of this look at Carolina Collects by noting that the NYT has an interesting article on Betty's daughter Francesca Woodman. Francesca was a photographer who died at 22 from a suicide leaving a pretty amazing portfolio for someone so young. What a tragedy.

Part 2 coming soon wherein I yawn at a Calder piece but exalt over a couple of photos from Sally Mann and Irving Penn.

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