Wednesday, May 5, 2010

North Carolina Museum of Art Visit

Today was my day to visit my doctor for my annual physical.  Not my favorite activity!  So to reward myself for my good behavior, I dropped in at the new gallery of the North Carolina Museum of Art just down the street from my doctor's office.  The new west building has been under construction for years, and just opened last month.  It is worth a special trip to see the new galleries.   When you walk up, you are greeted by this amazing freestanding metallic tree which is 43 feet tall.

The museum sits on many acres of land which contain gardens, a pond, outdoor art sculptures, walking trails, and even an amphitheater.  I did not explore those today since I was eager to see the new galleries.  They don't look like much from a distance. It looks almost like a series of container storage units with glass roofs.  But inside...what a remarkable accomplishment!  The floors are white oak, the walls are aluminum panels offset to allow filtered light,, and the ceilings have 342 bubble skylights.  It is spacious and inviting.

My first stop was the Rodin court and gardens.  These Rodins were a gift to the museum and include The Thinker, The Kiss, and The Three Shades, among others.  A door from the Rodin court open to the outside sculpture garden with reflecting pool.  Very nice!

I visited the American gallery since it was closed prior to the move last time I went.  My favorite painting there was The Garden Parasol, by Frederick Carl Frieseke,  1910.  If the painting resembles a Monet, it is apparently because Frieseke also lived at Giverny for several years as a contemporary of the more famous artist.  I love the brilliant colors of the parasol, the portrayal of light, and the way the woman is looking up from her book as if the spectators are distracting her from her reading. 

I also spent a lot of time in the Contemporary Gallery.  The excitement here is over a new Picasso painting that has also been gifted to the museum.  It is Seated Woman, Red and Yellow Background, 1952.  Very Cubist.  It is supposed to be one of his mistresses, Françoise Gilot.  She became his ex-mistress soon after...could it be she found her portrait a tad unflattering?

There are many other fabulous new pieces in the new building.  One that I really liked is a piece of video art that is projected on a large wall near the museum's restaurant and gift shop.  It depicts a tree as it changes through the seasons.  Extremely cool!  With the metal tree outside and the video tree inside, there is definite homage to this part of North Carolina's beautiful landscape.

In November, the old museum building will host a special exhibit of Norman Rockwells.  That would be a great time to come to Raleigh to visit the museum.

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