Uzzle Buzz: Collection Connection

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Carolyn Allmendinger is Director of Academic Programs at the Ackland Art Museum.

Barn with Deer, 2009   Roe Deer in the Snow

When the Ackland’s acquisitions committee discusses the reasons to add a work of art to the collection, one of the things we consider is how our audiences might engage with that work. In the case of Barn with Deer, we knew that we wanted to include it in the exhibition All About America. In addition, we remembered that one of our Ackland Student Guides had designed a gallery tour called “The Art of the Hunt.” Barn with Deer, we thought, would be a great addition to that tour if she wanted to offer an encore performance. Thematically, it goes particularly well with Gustave Courbet’s painting, Roe Deer in the Snow, on view in the Museum’s collection galleries. Both Uzzle’s and Courbet’s works depicted rustic winter scenes in which deer figured prominently – in Courbet’s painting they are just off of the composition’s center and Uzzle’s a deer skin with head attached is at the lower left. Continue reading

Uzzle Buzz: Country Roads

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Molly Boarati is Assistant Curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Chicken ranch

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: Chicken Lunch, 2011; archival pigment print. Collection of Jennings Brody and Jonathan Kea. © Burk Uzzle.

Driving to Wilson, North Carolina is a little like driving home. As the curator of Burk Uzzle: Southern Landscapes at the Nasher Museum of Art, I went to visit Burk in his Wilson studio a few times to prepare for the exhibition. Heading east from Durham on route 264 reminded me of the trip to Lancaster County, Virginia, where I grew up, with fields of flowers, rural oddities, like the Country Doctor Museum, and the sleepy towns in between. It seemed appropriate that, in planning a show of Burk’s photographs of southern landscapes, I would have to experience the land along the way, visit parts of the South I had never seen before, and consider them in relation to other regional areas I’d traveled often. Continue reading

Uzzle Buzz: Mirror Mirror, Man Men

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

elin o’Hara slavick is Professor of Studio Art, Theory and Practice in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Art.

On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was executed by a police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for selling CDs in the street. Eric Garner was killed in 2014 for selling loose cigarettes. Like so many others, their crime in the eyes of cops was to be black in a racist country. (Had they been white, chances are they would still be alive today.) No justice for Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland. I can’t breathe. Black lives matter.

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: Mirror Image, Peace Demonstration, New Haven, 1970, 1970; gelatin silver print. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Anonymous Gift, 2008.3.23. © Burk Uzzle.

All the men visible in Burk Uzzle’s photograph Mirror Image, Peace Demonstration, New Haven, 1970 are white—two civilians and police officers. We can imagine that if the two activists holding the mirror up were black, the officers would not be lazily leaning against a tree.

We assume Uzzle’s photograph is of peace activists protesting the Vietnam War (or the American War as it is known in Vietnam). During that war, and the many wars since, the United States government and military (thanks to our tax dollars) are responsible for countless deaths, mostly civilians—from Korea and Cambodia to Iraq and Afghanistan. This action—of holding up a mirror so that men in uniform can see themselves confronting (policing) people just like them—did not bring about peace despite the activists’ sincere gesture towards a shared humanity.

I have often thought if we could just reach the gun manufacturers, the companies profiting from the sale of weapons systems, and show them how an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, we could end this perpetual cycle of war and violence. But I have yet to make contact with a gun or weapons manufacturer. Continue reading

Uzzle Buzz: Sharp Elbows

“The way to be a good news photographer is to have sharp elbows. You have to get in the middle. If you’re in the middle, you have the feeling of it.” — Burk Uzzle, 23 June 2016

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: All Hands for Peace, Peace Demonstration, New Haven, 1970, 1970; gelatin silver print. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Anonymous Gift, 2008.3.28.
Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: All Hands for Peace, Peace Demonstration, New Haven, 1970, 1970; gelatin silver print. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Anonymous Gift, 2008.3.28. © Burk Uzzle.

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Uzzle Buzz: Woodstock, Flag Pants, and Rolling Stone

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Dennis Hermanson is a retired illustrator and graphic designer active in the Hillsborough and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, arts community. He is presently on the Board of the Hillsborough Arts Council, a member of the Ackland Art Museum, and a friend of many fine photographers and artists.

Ackland_2008.3.19, 1/12/12, 3:42 PM, 8C, 3882x4647 (0+348), 50%, Custom, 1/20 s, R49.1, G23.3, B33.1

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: Woodstock (Crowd in Field with Tent and Trash), 1969; gelatin silver print. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Anonymous Gift, 2008.3.19. © Burk Uzzle.

Me at Woodstock? It all happened by accident.

Going to NYU, I lived for three years on East Seventh Street, overlooking the Fillmore East, the East Coast counterpart to the famed Fillmore West, so I sure didn’t feel the need to go to the middle of New York State to see a cow pasture with a music stage. But my blood-brother, Richard, insisted.

Richard was a model, designer, writer. He had worked for Electra Records and hung out with Janis Joplin. I was a cartoonist and illustrator with a group called Cloud Studio, which went on to do the National Lampoon when it began. So we were free, and went to Woodstock early Thursday to beat the crowd. Continue reading

Uzzle Buzz: Photojournalist Burk and Artist Burk

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Born in Raleigh in 1938, Burk Uzzle is a world-renowned photographer whose work is being shown at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill during the summer of 2016. Learn more about him on his website: burkuzzle.com

Photojournalist Burk and Artist Burk. Both are the same person, otherwise one would be counterfeit.

Both remember, always, the advice of Henri Cartier Bresson: “The most important thing you can do is respect your subject.”

As photography can be a love affair with life, my life is also a love affair with the medium.

Early on I strived for the simple, declarative statement, with a touch of drama for impact. Editors’ needs became the glasses through which I viewed the world. Those were the early LIFE magazine years, 1961 to 1967. They had moved me to the Chicago bureau, and my free time was spent at the Art Institute of Chicago, looking at paintings. Another LIFE photographer offered me advice: “Shoot every picture for the managing editor.” This conflicted with the inspirational individuality I saw across mediums at the museum. Continue reading

Uzzle Buzz: Wordless Wednesday

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: <i>Bring Us Together, Peace Demonstration, Washington, D.C., 1970</i>

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: Bring Us Together, Peace Demonstration, Washington, D.C., 1970, 1970; gelatin silver print. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Anonymous Gift, 2008.3.31. © Burk Uzzle.

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Meet the Staff: Lauren Turner

LAUREN TURNER is Assistant Curator for the Collection.

TurnerHow long have you been at the Ackland?
I started at the Ackland in January 2009 as a Curatorial Assistant.

What brought you to the Ackland?
My long-term goal was to work in a museum, and I was an undergraduate alumna of the Art Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. When the job posted, it seemed like it was a sign from the universe to return to campus. Also, in her annoying habit of inevitably being right, my mother told me that I would be an idiot to not apply.

What do you do at the Ackland?
My current title is “Assistant Curator for the Collection,” but it encompasses more than researching, growing, and exhibiting the almost 18,000 objects of our collection. I also coordinate catalogue publications, act as a project manager (and sometimes curator) for our changing exhibitions, and introduce interns and student assistants to the many different types of tasks in a museum career. Continue reading

Uzzle Buzz: Barn with Deer

“Uzzle Buzz” is a series of blog posts, written by various authors, that respond to or comment on some aspect of our exhibition All About America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle.

Patricia Leighten is Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University and guest curator of All About America.

Barn with Deer, 2009

Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938: Barn with Deer, 2009; carbon print. 30 x 37-7/16 in. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The William A. Whitaker Foundation Fund, 2015.12.1. © Burk Uzzle.

Burk Uzzle’s travel across twentieth- and twenty-first-century America is a trip through time and across the land, resulting in a significant and diverse body of work. After his close involvement in a time of convulsing social conflict and change, Uzzle was able to move beyond photojournalism, broadening his perspective to look at many aspects of our culture. In each decade he experimented with media and with differing sizes of his prints. And in each case he conveyed his vision—from the dramatic to the whimsical—in a way best suited to the subject. Continue reading

Meet the Staff: Emily Bowles

EMILY BOWLES is the Ackland’s Director of Communications.

BowlesHow long have you been at the Ackland?
My first day working at the Ackland was August 30, 2010, so as of this writing I’ve been here over 5-1/2 years.

What brought you to the Ackland?
A job that was the perfect mix of my backgrounds in the arts and in communications. And a freelancing gig that was about to dry up after eight solid years.

What do you do at the Ackland?
I make sure that the word gets out about all the amazing exhibitions and programs that we have going on. That means I’m responsible for the website content (text and images), our bi-weekly eNews, media relations, press releases, advertising, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), printed invitations and posters, e-fliers and printed takeaways, flat screen TV slides, etc. It’s a big job because we are a very active museum. Continue reading