Archives for posts with tag: NCMA

North Carolina Museum of Art is a fascinating place.

Open to the public since 1956, the museum moved into its current 181,000-square-foot home, East Building, on Blue Ridge Rd. in 1983. East Building features a wide variety of rotating exhibitions.

2010 saw the $76.8-million construction of West Building, providing an additional 127,000-square-foot space to permanently house the museum’s collections. Those collections include an impressive display of European Renaissance paintings, Egyptian funerary art and international contemporary art.

They also include one of only two permanent Jewish art displays in an American museum.

The North Carolina Museum of Art sits on 164 acres, which it has turned into the largest museum art park in the country. The Museum Park contains a dozen sculptures, two miles of trails, picnic areas and the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater, which presents one of the greatest concert series in the state.

NCMA lawnThe Museum Park Theater is a welcoming outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 2,500 people (500 reserved seating, 2,000 lawn). The venue sells four different canned beers and wine by the glass and bottle. The Museum Park Theater encourages visitors to bring outside food, blankets and chairs. Coming to a show? Be prepared to picnic!

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NCMA patioAs a courtesy to guests, the North Carolina Museum of Art sends out an email the day of the show answering most potential questions about the event.

On July 12, famed singer-songwriters Iris Dement and Loudon Wainwright III co-headlined the bill, the latest in a line of legends to have graced the stage in the Raleigh summertime. The heat of the day gave way to a pleasant evening, temperatures in the upper 70s with a mellow breeze meandering through the crowd as Iris Dement walked on stage at 8pm sharp.

Iris2Backed only by her Steinway grand piano and a chorus of cicadas, Dement’s mournful Southern-gospel-tinged vocals rang through the air, carried on the summer breeze like church bells in the Arkansas delta. Though she confessed to be in the midst of a mild panic attack, her passionate performance masked any hint of discomfort.

Iris1Dement’s 75-minute set included a few tracks off her 2012 release, “Sing the Delta,” such as “Mornin’ Glory,” “There’s A Whole Lotta Heaven” and the title track.  Her setlist also included “Our Town,” a crowd favorite from her 1992 debut album, “Infamous Angel.”

Iris4Recently, Dement became infatuated with the late-acclaimed Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and set nearly two dozen of her poems to music. On this night, she brought two of the poems to life, enhanced by Dement’s soulful country charm.

NCMA moonThe supermoon sat fat and happy over the left shoulder of the stage, and Loudon Wainwright III seemed determined not to let it outshine him. Bursting with energy belying his age, The Ol’ Loudo began his set with “High Wide & Handsome,” a tongue-in-cheek ode to both himself and noted banjo player Charlie Poole, men of large stature and larger-than-life personalities.

Loudon1Then the Durham-born folk singer did something uncommon in the world of touring musicians. He began to play new unreleased material. Seven of the 17 songs he unleashed on Raleigh were from his upcoming album, due for release in Sept. 2014. In fact, 16 of the songs played were recorded within the last decade. Loudon Wainwright III is set to release his 23rd studio album (not including three live albums). He’s been recording music for over 40 years. And he’s sick of playing the same old songs.

Loudon2But that’s okay, because a Loudon Wainwright III show isn’t about sing-a-longs. He mesmerizes the audience with stories and punchlines, and he just happens to carry a guitar. He’s a slightly neurotic and highly expressive actor who finds comfort on the stage. He’s a true entertainer.

As Wainwright approaches his eighth decade, his song motifs have evolved. He may not be singing about dead animals anymore, but he’ll tell you all about parking in New York City, the medications he’s taking, the pains of living in a dry county and death and decay.

Loudon3He’ll also tell you all about his father. Last year, he began performing a one-man show that exclusively pairs his songs with writings from his father, who was a highly respected LIFE magazine columnist. At his North Carolina Museum of Art concert, Wainwright recited all or part of three of Loudon Wainwright, Jr.’s columns, each followed immediately by a song: “Half Fist,” Peter Blegvad’s “Daughter” and “Man and Dog.”

When Loudon Wainwright III finished up his 81-minute set with a two song encore (“The Swimming Song” and “Unfriendly Skies”) at exactly 11pm, he bid the crowd a fond farewell, promising to Google the lyrics of “Grey in LA,” the last verse of which he forgot while playing. Music Maniacs would do well to Google both Iris Dement and Loudon Wainwright III. While they will not be visiting Raleigh again this year, there will be plenty of good music emanating from the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art in the near future.


The North Carolina Museum of Art’s 18th annual summer concert series is again being hosted in the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park.

The Museum Park Theater welcomes America’s finest singer-songwriters and critically-acclaimed musical ensembles from around the world. This Sat., July 19, marks the return of Grammy-winning musician (and former member of ’80s rock band The Del Fuegos) Dan Zanes.

302993_10150324556628522_2107693151_nThe North Carolina Museum of Art considers him a “national treasure.” And if your family watches Sprout or The Disney Channel, you’ve likely seen Zanes before. As one of the country’s finest family entertainers, Dan Zanes and Friends perform classic American folk songs, original tunes and music reflecting the cultural diversity of our nation and the world with great talent and joy. They have a magical ability to connect with young and old audiences alike.

313895_10150324556543522_317037778_n“We’re making music for everybody. At our shows, kids are only half the audience. It’s really important to me that we have a shared experience,” said Zanes.

The theater offers limited reserved seating and ample lawn seating under beautiful shade trees, and parking is free. Dan Zanes and Friends appear at 6pm. Tickets are $20 for adults ($15 for museum members) and $10 for children 3-12. All seating is general admission, picnicking is encouraged and the doors open at 4:30pm.

311315_10150324556093522_600290067_nAdditional 2014 summer shows:
July 26, 7pm – Lisa Fischer, followed by screening of 20 Feet from Stardom
Aug. 2, 8pm – An Evening with Judy Collins
Aug. 9, 8pm – Carolina Chocolate Drops
Sept. 12-14, 7pm – Paperhand Puppet Intervention
Sept. 27, 8pm – The Head and the Heart

While you’re there, consider some art appreciation in the great outdoors. Encompassing more than 160 acres of fields, woodlands and creeks, the Museum Park presents a unique setting to explore the intersection of art and nature and invites visitors to encounter dramatic works of art through riding bikes, walking dogs or just enjoying the scenic paths.

Written by Creative Genius Kristy Stevenson (who can also be a Music Maniac or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.


Last week Elvis would have turned 78 years old, so the N.C. Museum of Art (NCMA) thought it appropriate to honor the King of Rock and Roll with a portrait-hanging and general celebration of his life.

The museum recently adorned a bare gallery wall with a modern classic by Andy Warhol, and on Fri. celebrated the addition of the Elvis I and II silkscreen painting, welcoming The King in style with a night of tunes and Elvis-themed food and beverages. The chef at Iris NCMA even crafted a special dinner “Love Me Tenderloin” pork dish in honor of the occasion.

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Andy Warhol, beloved 60’ s pop artist and counterculture hero, had a knack for silkscreen prints as well as an affinity for pop culture icons like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. In 1963, Warhol created a large-scale piece for a L.A. gallery composed of 28 images of Elvis in various color combinations and spatial arrangements. The huge roll of canvas was cut by the gallery, resulting in 13 individual pieces of art. Elvis I and II is one of those pieces. The painting is a diptych, featuring a double image of Elvis in vivid color on the left side, with another double image of him on the right in black and silver. Elvis is presented as a cowboy from a scene in the 1960 movie Flaming Star. The iconic piece is on loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario and will be on view until Apr. 7, 2013.

The NCMA displays about only 25 percent of their collection at any given time. The rest of the art hibernates in storage, waiting to be cycled through the museum. This means something fresh is always on view at NCMA. I have been eagerly roaming the halls of this museum on a regular basis since I was a child, and invariably I am delighted to find a new favorite painting each time I enter.

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The NCMA continues to raise its standards and secure its spot as one of our nation’s top-notch art museums. With works ranging from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi to paintings by Renaissance masters like Botticelli, to the Rodin sculpture garden and works of well-known modern and contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, the museum’s collection is certainly one of N.C.’s finest cultural treasures.

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If you desire to delve deep into the visual treats filling the NCMA, patrons can easily access a free cell phone tour simply by dialing a number for each piece of art to get an explanation from a museum curator or even hear from Director Larry Wheeler himself! Admission to the museum’s permanent collection is free every day, and there is always a great temporary exhibit on view in the museum’s East Building. Right now check out Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print, on view until Feb. 10.

The North Carolina Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Still-Life Masterpieces: A Visual Feast from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, offers a perspective of still-life art which is quite different than any I’ve previously experienced. While I am usually quick to write off still-life works as boring and without depth, imagining the classic 16th century Flemish or Dutch fruit bowl or flower vase, this exhibition brought the classic genre into a new light. The artworks on display range from the Renaissance era to modern times, have made their way to NC from all over the globe, and are the work of such noteworthy masters as Georgia O’Keefe, Braque, Franz Kline, John Singleton Copley, Matisse, Manet, Cezanne, Giorgia Morandi, Corbet and Renoir. The show offers viewers a chance to ponder the art of observation and the pleasure of simply looking at something in a way that is unhurried, mindful and attentive to detail. Still-life paintings force you to rethink the way you go through daily life by allowing prolonged scrutiny of minute details and the beauty of simple, everyday objects.

Throughout the gallery viewers will find bowls of scrumptious fruit adorning the walls, some intensely realistic, others post-impressionistic feats of distorted form and evident brushstroke.  The close-up view of objects allows one to notice the beauty of the mundane in the light, color and form. The exhibition also expands the traditional notion of still-life art by including silverware, table dishes, jewelry and vases.

Many of the show’s pieces are centered around the most traditional of still-life subject matter — bowls of fruit, vases of flowers, bottles arranged on a table — but the ones I found most intriguing were the pieces categorized as “vanitas” still-lifes. I recall this term from my art history studies, and it was a genre that was slightly morbid while also impossibly interesting.  Vanitas paintings include certain objects — maybe a floating bubble, burning candle or skull — which reminds us of the transient nature of earthly life and pursuits. The vanitas theme is strong in a variety of works ranging from 16th century realist paintings by Cornelis Gijsbrechts to a modern depiction of Chinese takeout boxes by Barnett Newman which teeters toward abstraction.

Perhaps my favorite piece in the entire exhibition is one entitled Cabbages, painted by Polly Thayer in 1936. Cabbages is a zoom-in of a bunch of cabbage heads, rendered in intensely vivid blues, greens and purples, and is proof that something so un-glamorous and banal as a cabbage can provide major impact.

Still-Life Masterpieces: A Visual Feast from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will make NCMA its home until January 13, 2013.

Written by Creative Genius, Katie.

“The word and image are one. ” – Hugo Ball, 1915.

 Word Up: The Intersection of Text and Image, a current exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art, features the work of six North Carolina artists who are inspired by the way text and images interact with one another to create meaning.

Mathew Curran, Lincoln Penn Hancock, Nathaniel Lancaster, Shaun Richards, Gabriel Shaffer, and Derek Toomes each work in a uniquely different way to explore the synergy between the two forms of expression. A collection of paintings and drawings from the locals on the subject of text and image finds a dwelling place in the North Carolina Gallery until mid- January.

In an age when almost everything is digital, technology is rampant, and humans are greeted by a constant onslaught of media in their everyday lives, text and image have forged a symbiotic relationship. Most images with which we come into contact are accompanied by words. We have been conditioned to expect it, often finding it difficult to interpret certain images without the aid of words. Word Up explores the relationship between text and image and rocks traditional notions of the role of each.

The exhibition features artists taking a unique approach to creating their work, many with a distinct pop art feel. Much of the text used is commercial or political and is imposed upon or buried beneath images, colors and abstractions. The pieces are thought-provoking as well as visually exciting.

Derek Toomes incorporates sewing patterns and building designs into his work, using them as a background for text that alludes to commercialism and consumerism.  Gabriel Shaffer makes use of discarded materials, to salvage the found words and create art from them.  Within his pieces, literary snippets by William Butler Yeats appear alongside cartoon drawings, blurring the line between classic poetry and pop culture imagery.  Mathew Curran, who is inspired by urban street art such as stencil and graffiti tags, uses images from vintage magazine covers and spray paint to alter mass-produced, recognizable images.

A personal favorite was the work of Lincoln Hancock, whose vibrant assemblages employ advertisements, text from commercial products, magazines, comic strips, old baseball cards, and various stenciled and penciled phrases, layered upon vibrant backgrounds to express the barrage of information we are confronted by everyday. Check out Hancock’s exhibition Everything That Wants to Say Yes  currently displayed in the lobby of Artspace, as well.

Word Up: The Intersection of Text and Image will be on view at NCMA until January 20, 2013.

Written by Creative Genius, Katie.

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