“Photography is a problem,” said Peter Nisbet, interim director and curator of the new photography show at the Ackland Art Museum. At the press preview, he talked about the deluge of photographs that will not stop. Everyone takes pictures, he said, and for a museum which has the biggest photography collection in the state, the question remains, is it art and which images are worth preserving? With that said, Nisbet introduced a show filled with 150 photographs chosen from more than 500 that have been collected in the last 10 years.
Sixty years is a long time to keep a volunteer organization going, but the Durham Art Guild has prospered; the artist members ply their trade as professionals and the exhibitions provide a platform rarely found in any community, much less one the size of Durham. This year the show of 89 objects by 67 artists is exceptional; there was more work submitted than last year and the gallery looks better than it ever has. Katie Seiz, executive director of the guild and the person responsible for day-to-day operations, deserves a huge round of applause.
Isabel Chicquor (1943-2011), a highly trained artist, taught studio art for 30 years in N.C. Central University’s art department. This month, the university’s museum is honoring her with an exhibition of her paintings and photographs. The 49 images are part of a recent gift from Chicquor’s family to the NCCU Art Museum. The show includes early drawings in charcoal and pastel; the rest are photographs.
There is some fascinating art at the Nasher Museum of Art, and the conversations between the works span decades and cross continents. The core of the show is 34 works of art by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) on loan from the Rauschenberg Foundation. Those images have been juxtaposed with Russian art created during the 1980s and 1990s, which are part of the Nasher permanent collection. Added to this mix are 24 works from the newly acquired gift of more than 50 objects by San Franciscan Bruce Conner (1933-2008), photographer, videographer, collage artist and longtime friend of Rauschenberg.
The fall season is the busiest time of the year; school begins, the leaves turn and art in all its forms competes for our attention. This year is no exception. The next months will see art exhibitions of the giants from the golden age Dutch and Flemish artists of the 17th century to those of the 20th. And while modern painting was moving off the walls and out of the frame, a mechanical object called the camera was changing everything we thought we knew about the visible world and we’ll see what that looks like.
Themes attached to group shows make it much easier for the visitor to be a part of the process, and trees are a perfect example. We know what a tree should look like, and we can weigh our ideas against those of the artist; there is also the chance to compare one artist’s vision with another’s. And then there are the unending numbers of ways to present a tree through the medium of art.
Found objects: stuff from scrap stores, flea markets, Dumpsters, abandoned houses and yard sales have found their way into art galleries by way of both highly trained artists and those who are self-taught.
This week Craven Allen is showing ceramics and paintings and at the Durham Arts Council are three very different painting shows. Craven Allen’s exhibition space is beautifully arranged with Brad Tucker’s pottery seemingly floating on their glass shelves against the bright greens and yellows of Linwood Hart’s paintings.
Art can be a powerful voice against evil, social injustice and corruption.
Marvin Saltzman (b. 1931) and I have known each other more than 35 years. We never met in the classroom, however; he was teaching studio and I was studying art history. But since I have been writing about art, we have spent many hours discussing the state of art in general and his art in particular.
Two shows as different from each other as found objects are from archival papers ordered from Japan are about to close. At the Scrap Exchange are the small tabletop sculptures by Christopher Kearney. At Light Art + Design are works on paper by Ippy Patterson and Leigh Suggs. Check them out if you can. In any event not only is the art a treat, but each gallery has important business news to report.
Chances are the camera Frank Myers uses is a direct descendent of one made by Kodak and, if not the camera, then his film is. Myers’ show of local musicians performing around the Triangle is all about the local jazz scene and the non-profit Art of Cool Project. The Kodak references have been fueled by an exhibit at the Center for Documentary Studies on the role the Eastman Company played in putting a camera in almost every hand in the country.
Lisa McCarty, the 2013-14 CDS exhibitions intern, mined a cache of advertisements from the Wayne P. Ellis Collection of Kodakiana and the J. Walter Thompson Company Domestic Advertisements Collection, which are part of Duke’s collection of Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, to put together a fascinating story about invention and advertising and how a costly and unwieldy pursuit of image making was turned into an inexpensive and easy matter.
Two men and a gift of more than 480 works of art; this is the heart of the new exhibition at the Ackland Museum. Joseph F. McCrindle (1923-2008) amassed hundreds of art objects during his lifetime and gave them to large and small institutions all over the country, including the Ackland. Many were given because of personal friendships.
It was one of those pretty summer days when the temperature had not soared into the 90s and the downtown Chapel Hill art scene beckoned. I began my visits at the Horace Williams House where Cici Stevens has mounted a show of small found objects. From there I moved uptown to Frank Gallery and a group show of drawings and prints and then across the street to the Ackland Museum Store where they were putting the finishing touches on a pottery exhibit which would open in a couple of hours.
Play ball! It is that moment when the teams have taken their positions on the field, the pitcher winds up and the game begins. It is summertime in Durham and for 72 days the Triple A Bulls will play at home to big crowds, folks who love baseball and all the fun and hoopla organized around it.
The summer of 2014 has also turned into a Durham Bulls museum event. Last year, 10 photographers were commissioned to document the 72-game season. It was the 25th anniversary of the best all-time baseball movie ever, “Bull Durham.”