Carolina Arts logo

Feature Articles

June 2011

Gregg Museum of Art & Design in Raleigh, NC, Offers New Exhibits

The Gregg Museum of Art & Design in Raleigh, NC, will offer two new exhibits including: Renaldo in the land of Rocaterrania, on view from June 2 through Sept. 3, 2011 and THEN . . . ABSENCE - after Katrina in the Lower Ninth Ward, featuring photographs by John Rosenthal, on view from June 9 through Aug. 13, 2011.

One of most astounding art discoveries in decades, Raleigh outsider Renaldo Kuhler labored in secret for more than 60 years, using the power of his own imagination and keen drafting skills honed over decades as a scientific illustrator for the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, to bring the imaginary country of Rocaterrania into existence.

Located between Canada and northern New York, Rocaterrania is a tiny nation of eastern Europeans that has been fraught with political turmoil since the early 1930s. Under the rule of empresses, czars, dictators and premieres, it slowly developed from a monarchy into a nation that is (paradoxically) fascist about individualism. The original drawings and models Renaldo made to help visualize his eccentric creation will be displayed in the first public exhibition of his work ever held in his home state.

Fortunately, it was all thoroughly documented. Greensboro, NC, filmmaker Brett Ingram will screen Rocaterrania, his award-winning film about Renaldo’s world, at the opening on Thursday, June 9, at 6pm and again on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 6pm. Ingram and Renaldo Kuhler himself will be here both these evenings for autographs and Q&A sessions. A chance to meet the filmmaker along with the amazing subject of his film is incredibly rare, so don’t miss it! Both presentations are free and open to the public.

The exhibition, THEN . . . ABSENCE - after Katrina in the Lower Ninth Ward, presents John Rosenthal’s color documentary photographs of New Orleans.

Rosenthal states, “I drove into the Ninth Ward a year and a half after Katrina. The initial documentary ‘Gold Rush’ - photography inspired by overturned houses, cars in trees, and mountains of debris - was plainly over. Dramatic spectacle had given way to pervasive loss - a condition far less tangible and more difficult to photograph. And then, despite my original intentions not to, I began to take photographs. A large part of the neighborhood had already disappeared and the rest was in danger of being hauled away. What I found and what I photographed weren’t simply the remnants of a dilapidated and dangerous neighborhood now demolished by a hurricane, but the vestiges of a working-class community in which aspiration contended with scarcity, and where religious faith found expression on every block.”

“From my perspective, the floodwaters had washed away not only bricks and mortar, but also the toxic stereotypes that separate us from each other,” adds Rosenthal. “What was left was the vanishing common ground, and it is this familiar terrain that I have photographed. I wanted my photographs to say, ‘See: this was here, and that was there’.”

For further info check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 919/515-3503 or visit (

[ | June 2011 | Feature Articles | Carolina Arts Unleashed | Gallery Listings | Home | ]



Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 2011 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2011 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.