On my first visit to the North Carolina Museum of Art, I made notes as I walked through the Classical Sculptures, the Rodin Garden, the Contemporary Art section where I saw my first Picasso, the European section where I found Monet, the Italian Art section where I saw centuries of images of Madonna and Child.
North Carolina Museum of Art
Sharing thoughts on my visit to the North Carolina Museum of Art.
The three most interesting pieces in the Contemporary Art section of the North Carolina Museum of Art were hard to choose. I liked all three pieces for different reasons. I have always loved Pablo Picasso’s work and have one hanging in my home. I can appreciate the Seated Woman, Red and Yellow Background, but it not in my favorites of Picasso’s work.
When I first saw Portrait of Emy, by Karel Schmidt-Rottluff, my instincts were that he must have studied under Picasso. Portrait of Emy jumps out at you with the bold orange oil color. The blue eyes grab and hold your attention in an odd way, and I haven’t quite figured out the hair style his wife, Emy, had when she sat for this.
And then when I looked at Michael Richards’ Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastion, I had a much different feeling. I was overwhelmed with wondering why he would give this sculpture a name like this. A man cast in gold, a pilot, covered with small airplanes…. It is intriguing.
My first thought was that it must represent one of the world wars though it was made in 1999. Could it be paying tribute to a veteran family member? Without researching the artist or the piece itself, I would choose this as my favorite because it makes me want to understand more about the artist. If I was at a gallery viewing this statue I would likely stand around and discuss it with a friend. However, I wouldn’t want any of the three pieces in my home. I think any of these three could eventually give me the creeps.
When I walked through the African Art section at the North Carolina Museum of Art, the first piece that caught and held my attention was Lamidi Fakeye’s three Veranda Post statues carved out of Iroko wood. I stopped to admire the detail and the smoothed edges of the carvings. Once I got past the fact that they were carved out of wood I became engrossed in admiring the costumes the characters were wearing. There were many different kinds of costumes and tribal wear in the African Art section.
As I walked around I kept being drawn to the back wall, where an assortment of heads seems to be coming out at you. Ledelle Moe’s Congregation lures you in. It’s haunting and calming all at the same time. I started to wonder how they would move this piece from one museum to the next as it is mounted on the wall….. maybe there’s a map that says, “hang head C here.” Or maybe the wall itself is actually part of the sculpture. The shadows cast on the wall by the many little heads gave it an eerie feeling that I can only assume was intended by Moe.
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The Funerary Monument, by an unknown artist, hangs at the back wall of the Classical Sculpture section. The letters SEX are repeated. When I looked into the meaning of this work, I found that it is likely depicting a husband and wife, and possibly their son, as freed slaves.
The Georgia O’Keeffe image, Cebolla Church, hangs in the museum with a name plate beside it on the wall, which asks, “What is that thing in the window?” This is a question that I cannot answer, but it does makes the piece more intriguing to me. What did O’Keeffe intend it to be?
The Rodin Garden
When I first viewed The Three Shades in the Rodin Garden, my first reaction was that this made me think of the three wise men standing over baby Jesus. The sculpture seems at peace there, surrounded by all the bamboo growing, and the lily pads in the pond. After reading more about it, I now see that this is the same figure, same pose, just lined up at different angles, possibly symbolizing a phrase from Dante’s Inferno, "Abandon every hope, ye who enters here.” Which I feel is a vast contradiction to the way the sculpture is presented alongside the bamboo at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
The three Moet images found in the European section are The Seine at Giverny, Waves at the Manneporte, and The Cliff, Étretat, Sunset. My favorite of these three is actually a tie. The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists reminds me of a scene at Airlie Gardens, here in Wilmington, NC. I was walking the grounds one morning and I feel as if I saw this exact view. I find it comforting. The tie for my favorite is held by The Cliff, Étretat, Sunset. I like The Cliff because it looks like a place that could only exist in paradise, a place I can hope truly exists, and I hope to visit someday. The Seine almost feels cold, you can feel the dampness in the air, while The Cliff feels warm, like a sunset somewhere on some amazing island.
In the second room of the Italian 13th – 16th Century Art section, my favorite work is Madonna and Child by Francesco di Simone Ferrucci. I like how the whole piece looks like it could be made into a collectable coin. The round background of the marble statue wraps the whole piece up and gives it a sense of love and unity that would have to exist between a mother and child. I just find this work beautiful and it was the one that my eyes kept going back to over and over.
In the third room, the image made of spools of thread by Devorah Sperber, titled After the Mona Lisa 2, was made to resemble the Mona Lisa by Leonardo DiVinci, only upside down. The 5,184 spools of thread were donated by Coats & Clark.