This exhibition focuses on the Ackland’s recent acquisitions of sculpture made since 1980, supplemented by a handful of loans from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and from the distinguished collection of James Keith Brown ’84 and Eric Diefenbach. It looks at ways in which contemporary sculpture productively continues the lineage of contravening traditional “single-object-on-a-pedestal” conventions, especially through unexpected placement (ceiling, floor, wall, wall and floor together), language, reflectivity, accumulation, and other strategies. In the title, “good” and “bad” do not refer to aesthetic quality or formal success. Instead, the adjectives are intended to evoke how works that seemingly misbehave (“behave badly”) by flouting, ignoring, or subverting customary decorum can achieve an emotional depth and resonant beauty characteristic of good art.
Artists in the exhibition include Carl Andre, Michael Ashkin, Martin Creed, Urs Fischer, Eero Hiironen, Roni Horn, Mel Kendrick, Annette Lemieux, Senga Nengudi, Amalia Pica, Sopheap Pich, Do Ho Suh, Stella Waitzkin, Tom Wesselmann, and Aaron Wilcox.
Mel Kendrick, American, born 1949, Untitled (detail), 1980, laminated pine, paint, and plaster, 73 × 60 × 26 in. (185.4 × 152.4 × 66 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gift of J. Kenneth Chance and Ellen Turner Chance, 2020.22.1.