Friday, August 17, 2012

The Weatherspoon Museum - Greensboro, NC -

Performance set-up for Invisible: The New Obsolete

On a recent trip to Greensboro, NC I visited The Weatherspoon Art Museum for the first time.  The museum was founded in 1941 and grew from a teaching museum for the Women's College of the University of NC to a professional museum which is recognized world wide.

The day I visited the multimedia performance group, Invisible, was preparing for an evening performance which features a fascinating collection of "musical instruments" made from a vast array of components.  The instruments are based on all sorts of concepts including the relationship of letters of the alphabet with keys on a piano.  The musician, or typist, plays sentences which are projected on a large screen.  There was a video showing clips from other performances.  I would describe the sound as strangely musical.  I loved the instruments themselves and the clever concepts.  

Main Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum

Main Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum

The facility is beautiful with spacious galleries.  The main gallery on the second floor was featuring sculpture from their permanent collection.  Two shows were mounted, Close Relations and a Few Black Sheep.  The shows were described as comprised of categories which are fluid and sharing a kinship of material investigation, conceptual underpinnings, and interest in method of approach.  I was impressed by the quality and scope of the work.

Embody #1, 1992 - Elisa D'Arrigo
Cloth, wire, acrylic, resin and pigments

I was really pleased to see a work by Elisa D'Arrigo who I wrote about last year.  As I viewed the work I spotted this piece from across the room and was immediately drawn to take a closer view.  Realizing that it was Elisa's work was a nice surprise.  The color palette is very different from her current work but her sense of materials is all there.  This piece was presented to the museum as a gift by Donald Rothfeld in memory of Hariette Weill Rothfeld and it is an example of the support this museum has by generous patrons.

Detail - Embody #1, 1992 - Elisa D'Arrigo

I was also impressed with the presentation of New Acquisions sponsored by an impressive list of corporations, endowments and individuals.  This show filled two smaller galleries and featured work by many major artists.  One of the pieces of interest to me was a work by Judy Pfaff.

Lemongrass, 2010 - Judy Pfaff
Paper, bamboo, artificial flowers, rice paste, ink, dye
paint, wire, parasol and found images.

Pfaff's work is wide ranging and the identification card stated, Pfaff is "a pioneer and authority of installation art and combines aspects of sculpture, painting, printmaking and architecture to form dynamic works that transcend aesthetic boundaries."  I personally enjoyed the pure joy expressed in this piece and references to the natural world as well as her use of man-made materials.

These shows were joined by Zone of Contention: The US and Mexican Boarder which was a multimedia show by multiple artists working on topics related to boarder issues.  

I hope you will put this excellent museum on your "museums to visit" list.  You won't be disappointed.


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