Feature Articles

January 2011

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, Offers Two New Exhibitions

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, will present two new exhibits on view at the Ackland Art Museum including: The Spectacular of Vernacular, on view from Jan. 14 through Mar. 18, 2012, and North Carolina Pottery, on view from Jan. 27 through Mar. 4, 2012.

Inspired by artist Mike Kelley’s observation that “the mass art of today is the folk art of tomorrow,” The Spectacular of Vernacular embraces the rustic, the folkloric, and the humbly homemade as well as the crass clash of street spectacle and commercial culture.

It explores the role of vernacular forms in some 40 works by more than two dozen contemporary artists, which run the aesthetic gamut: the hand-crafted work of Aaron Spangler juxtaposes with Lari Pittman’s carnivalesque day-glo paintings; Marc Swanson’s glittering trophy heads with Rachel Harrison’s urban relics. Also on view are photographs from William Eggleston and Shannon Ebner, who both revel in the signage and other elements of roadside culture.

Focusing on pieces made since the 1970s, the exhibition shows how the vernacular, in its very ubiquity - its integration into home life, social rituals, and sense of place - is an ongoing fascination for artists. With artworks that draw from such diverse sources as local architecture, amateur photographs, and handmade domestic items, it’s suggestive of a long, meandering road trip through the emblems and eyesores of everyday culture, replete with tourist destinations and outmoded hotels.

The Spectacular of Vernacular was organized by Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and is made possible by generous support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Helen and Peter Warwick, and Margaret and Angus Wurtele.

The exhibition of The Spectacular of Vernacular at the Ackland Art Museum is made possible by the James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach Fund for Contemporary Art. Additional support provided by the William Hayes Ackland Trust, and friends and members of the Ackland Art Museum. Public programs are supported by Drs. Leena and Sheldon Peck, Ruby Lerner, and Wayne Vaughn and Shirley Drechsel.

The Ackland’s collection of North Carolina pottery spans over two centuries. The collection includes traditional wares once used for storing and serving food and twentieth-century wares that demonstrate a response to contemporary needs and tastes. This exhibition features a select group of jars, jugs, pitchers, and vases made by such prominent potters as Nicholas Fox, Benjamin Owen, and Burlon Craig.

This exhibition was developed in consultation with Terry Zug, professor emeritus, Department of English and Curriculum in Folklore, UNC-Chapel Hill. It is sponsored in part to support instruction about North Carolina culture and history in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 919/966-5736 or visit (http://www.ackland.org/index.htm).

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