In conjunction with Dr. John Bowles’ ARTH 287 and ARTH 387 classes, six works by contemporary African-American artists are on view now through Sunday, May 10th, in the Study Gallery on the second floor of the Ackland. Perhaps the most eye-popping in its resoluteness and arresting color is Idrissa Ndiaye, a study in oil on paper by Kehinde Wiley.
Undoubtedly, Wiley is having a cultural moment: the 37-year-old artist is enjoying his first retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, and numerous examples of his work can be spotted on the set of Fox’s breakout new show “Empire.” Figurative, dramatic, and bombastically colorful, his art has all the necessary ingredients to be readily accessible to modern audiences.
Yet despite its immediate vivacity, below the surface Wiley’s art is deeply confrontational. He deals directly with stereotypical conceptions of African and African-American identity, both in modern culture and the history of art. His works usually follow a similar formula: a black figure, dressed in modern street clothes, stands heroically against a sumptuously decorative background. The figure gazes directly down at the viewer with an air of impassiveness and regality as baroque ornamentation swirls around him. Continue reading
As you all know, the Ackland is constantly striving to improve, and today I’m delighted to introduce to you a very concrete example of the ways in which we are moving from strength to strength: Meghan Hunt has recently joined us as our Manager of Membership Services. She will be dedicated to enhancing and expanding our programming and activities for you, our loyal and essential members. I know she’ll be in touch with many of you to learn more about what you most value in your association with the Ackland, about what more we can do to make the membership experience rewarding, and about how we can best increase the number of art enthusiasts who enjoy the benefits of our offerings. And I encourage you to be in touch with her with your thoughts and suggestions. Meghan, a Carolina alumna from the Class of 2011, comes to us from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she worked in development. She previously served as staff assistant for US Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). Please join me in giving Meghan a very warm welcome to the Ackland team.
Ackland Art Museum Chief Curator and Interim Director
As a UNC student and now as an employee, I have passed by the Ackland Art Museum many times on my way to Franklin Street. It is a treasure on the UNC campus. As the Manager of Membership Services, it will be my pleasure not only to provide wonderful experiences for you, our current members, but also to bring new members into the fold and share with them all the wonders the Ackland holds. I look forward to meeting many of you at the Spring Luncheon on Monday, 4 May, and learning about your favorite aspect of the Ackland. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With warm Carolina wishes,
Manager of Membership Services