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Rachel Howard at the Ackland Art Museum

October 19, 2015 by Mary

With its new exhibition Testing Testing: Painting and Sculpture since1960 from the Permanent Collection, the Ackland Art Museum highlights ways in which late modern and contemporary painting and sculpture have tested possibilities both within and beyond boundaries of conventional media.

The largest presentation of the Ackland’s relatively unknown collection of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture to date, the exhibition includes works by over 50 artists.


© Rachel Howard
Gluttony, 2002 -2003, Household Gloss on Canvas, 10 x 7ft

Paintings in Testing Testing vary in size, style, and medium: from large-scale abstract works by Rachel Howard, Jules Olitski, and Sean Scully to figural paintings by Barkley Hendricks, Hung Liu, and Horatio Torres. Sculptural works in the show range from a mixed media video installation by Tony Oursler to an assemblage piece by Renée Stout to bronze sculptures by Annette Lemieux.

Also on view is the Ackland’s large-scale bronze sculpture by Allan Houser, permanently displayed on the grounds of the UNC Hospitals complex.

“Through their experimentation, innovation, and skill, the artists in Testing Testing have assessed the potential not only of new materials in new combinations but also of traditional modes of painting and sculpture such as figuration and abstraction,” says Peter Nisbet, the Ackland’s chief curator and interim director. “Rather than offering a historical survey of developments, this exhibition will present stimulating and evocative groupings of work created since 1960, crossing cultures and chronologies.”

Other artists in the exhibition include José Bedia, Sanford Biggers, Anthony Caro, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Thornton Dial, Julie Heffernan, Al Held, Vik Muniz, Takashi Murakami, Kenneth Noland, Richard Nonas, Nam June Paik, Philip Pearlstein, Ken Price, George Segal, Yinka Shonibare, Lorna Simpson, Do-Ho Suh, Cornelia Thomsen, Stella Waitzkin, John Wesley, H.C. Westermann, Aaron Wilcox, and others.

“The bringing together of signature Ackland works, several important new acquisitions, and some surprises from storage affords us the opportunity to test what a large-scale, long-term installation of modern and contemporary art at the Museum might look like,” says Nisbet. “We invite our visitors to have their curiosity, imaginations, and responses tested as they encounter this astonishingly diverse array of powerful, beautiful, puzzling, and liberating work.

The Ackland Art Museum is located on the historic campus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Ackland’s holdings consist of more than 17,000 works of art, featuring significant collections of European masterworks, twentieth-century and contemporary art, African art, North Carolina pottery, and folk art. In addition, the Ackland has North Carolina’s premier collections of Asian art and works on paper (drawings, prints, and photographs). As an academic unit of the University, the Ackland serves broad local, state, and national constituencies.

Testing Testing, from 17 July 2015 until 3 January 2016.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 3400
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3400

Admission to the Ackland Art Museum is always free, with donations accepted.

The Ackland is open Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sundays 1:00 to 5:00 PM.