The Frank Gallery in Chapel Hill and the Pleiades Gallery in Durham offer two different exhibition options for artists.
The exhibition currently at Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh is huge: There are some 85 local, national and international artists presenting their work. Titled “Drawing show in five parts,” the entire building is devoted to old-fashioned drawing, and video and sculptures that begin with drawing skills. The themes come directly from today’s culture of science fiction, comics (“Drawn & Quarterly” and Marvel immediately come to mind), computer games and advertising, yet their artistic ancestors, like Warhol and Duchamp, hover over the entire exhibition.
Upstairs on Main Street across from Hotel 21c is the newest art gallery in town: Alizarin (The name refers to the crimson paint color). The gallery has been in operation for a year and a half and has managed to entice successful artists from across the state and the Triangle to join them.
Two exhibitions in the area are in venues at the opposite ends of art spaces. “Butterflies Are Free,” an exhibition of women photographers, is the feature at Light Art + Design, a high-end interior design company, and “Bicycle Art” is the main attraction at the Scrap Exchange’s Cameron Gallery.
Visiting Alice Levinson in her studio was an adventure through the gorgeous farmland of Orange County. I had seen her several months ago at a museum event and she told me she had been invited to show her “cloth constructions” at the Florence Biennale this fall.
Hillsborough is no longer the sleepy little town in the shadow of Chapel Hill and Durham. It is an art destination with galleries, festivals, gardens, restaurants, a world-class auction house and published authors everywhere.
Less than six months ago the Ackland Art Museum acquired “box” by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), one of a series of multiples he made over a period of some 20 years which contained reproductions of his work. Peter Nisbet, interim director and chief curator of the Ackland Art Museum, called it a “masterpiece” and added, “I don’t use those terms lightly.”
The world of contemporary art is no longer just traditional paint on canvas and sculpture of marble and metal. It now includes videos, audio tapes, sculpture worked with cornstarch, and shards of paint and ceramics from yesterday’s art objects displayed like ancient archaeological finds.
Downtown Durham has enjoyed outdoor sculpture placed at strategic locations for almost a year. Those who walk past them regularly may already feel they belong, and the occasional visitor, especially to the Durham Performing Arts Center or the American Tobacco complex has to believe these works of art indicate a city interested in the arts. The sculpture is all part of the Bull City Sculpture Show which opened in May 2014.
“The Patton Collection: A Gift to North Carolina,” is at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh through Aug. 23.
The art deco Hill Building at the corner of West Main and Corcoran streets has been resurrected. It is now the 21c Museum Hotel. Besides its new life as a hotel, it is also an art museum which is accessible seven days a week, whether you have booked a room or just want to come in and look.
Invitations to artists come for a variety of reasons: There is a call to spotlight landscapes or portraits or abstractions. The group at the Ackland Museum Store gallery, however, has studios at Durham’s Golden Belt complex, and that is the common thread that brings them to Chapel Hill.
The Semans Gallery is the first art space in the Durham Arts Council building and sometimes gets bypassed.
A current exhibition at North Carolina Central University’s Art Museum is about buildings for the general population commissioned and designed by Durham’s Freelon Group and its founder Philip Freelon (b. 1952).
The Scrap Exchange is a funny place to some and a treasure trove to others. The pragmatist sees barrels of stuff ready for the recycling machine; the romantic sees glittery jewels, the makings of toys or the elements of a painting.