Nearly five years after the Nasher Museum opened, this region of North Carolina is feeling more and more like a lively arts scene.
The North Carolina Museum of Art has landed a spot on every art lover’s calendar this weekend with the grand opening of a new 127,000-square-foot building housing the permanent collection. The opening festival is Saturday and Sunday. Reserve your free tickets here.
Some of us here at the Nasher Museum took a field trip to Raleigh recently to check out the new building designed by New York-based architects Thomas Phifer and Partners. We were thrilled!
We love the bright, airy galleries filled with natural light, thanks to large, egg-shaped skylights. The museum has acquired dozens of new works of art in honor of the opening, and we had fun discovering them: large-scale sculptures by El Anatsui, Roxy Paine, Jaume Plensa and Patrick Dougherty. Dougherty’s stickwork swirls across the entire wall facing the new cafe. Another lovely surprise was a dreamy video projection by Jennifer Steinkamp called “Mike Kelley,” depicting a tree throughout the seasons. It was terrific to see examples of work by North Carolina artists (besides Dougherty) throughout the contemporary galleries, including Jeff Whetstone, Beverly McIver and Andre Leon Gray.
We also oohed over the work by artist Michael Richards, a sculpture of a golden figure wearing a serviceman uniform, pierced by miniature planes like so many arrows.
The new sculpture gardens offer peaceful spaces for walking and relaxing.
The volunteers and folks at the front desk were helpful and informative. And we could not help but admire the sleek white bank of personal storage lockers opposite the conveniently located restrooms (but we are geeky museum people who notice stuff like that).
We wish the North Carolina Museum of Art well during this opening year. A strong, beautiful state art museum is great news for all.
IMAGE: View of the NCMA’s newly installed African collection, with a sculpture by artist Yinka Shonibare greeting visitors at the entrance.