The new North Carolina Museum of Art

So, two summers ago I interned for the curatorial department of the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA).  The internship was wonderful as I had two friendly, open supervisors and some excellent fellow-interns.  I also had a great view of the construction site of the new West Building from my little desk in the library.  The wall was all windows, so I looked out onto red clay and cranes and concrete and fiberglass.  The place was a mess, but I knew that by Spring of 2010 the red clay and bare walls would be transformed into the new NCMA campus.

And on Sunday April 26th, I was able to join the people of North Carolina in visiting this verdant, sculpture-filled accomplishment.

The NCMA is now composed of two buildings: the old East building, which will house temporary exhibitions and museum offices, and the new West building, which houses the permanent collection.  The opening weekend was worth braving the crowds: site-specific dance, arts and craft activities, various musical acts and food trucks(!) made it super fun.

So, the new building.  It is large, and white, and sort of ware-housey, but extremely bright and spacious and full of natural light, which I love.  I wish I could speak more as to how I felt the art looked, but I was really distracted by all the people and all the site specific dancers and all the commotion and excitement!

There were some amazing contemporary pieces commissioned for the new space:

El Anatsui, Lines that Link Humanity
Jaume Plensa, Doors of Jerusalem, with site specific dancer below
Roxy Paine, Askew
Ursula von Rydingsvard's Ogromna with a site specific dancer.

As you can see, some of these beautiful pieces are outdoors!  Here are a few more, including some Rodin from a giant gift given by a generous donor.

Look, more site specific dancers
In case you can't tell, the site specific dancers fascinated me
Rodin, and odd looking museum employee
Rodin courtyard!

So those pretty garden/courtyards are interspersed through the “modules” of the West building, they are lovely and walkable.

Some other art that I liked:

Yinka Shonibare! On Stilts!
Mona Lisa made from spools of thread.
Cat-rats going after fish, this is detail from a big Dutch still life.
Torah Torah Torah!
Hipsters?
A collage of photographs of North Carolina
Leaving the museum, so green, so green...

Some burgers were had, as well, from the Only Burger truck.  Amazing burgers, mine had an egg, pimento cheese, and a fried green tomato.  I should have taken a picture, but I was too busy eating.  And catching up with my supervisor-curator-friend Kinsey Katchka. The East building had some Mahler symphony happening as well, which we heard in snippets while wandering around looking at light installations and a dismantled drum kit.

So, that was a fun day.  I need to go back to the museum when there are fewer people so I can actually judge whether or not the West building is a success, but it was fun to be a part of the scene.  Yay NCMA.

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