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Asheville Art Museum Asheville Art Museum
Asheville, NC
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Asheville Art Museum
2 South Pack Square
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
Phone 828.253.3227
FAX 828.257.4503
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Temporaray location during construction
Asheville Art Museum On the Slope
175 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
(Details at ashevilleart.org.)

E-Mail: mailbox@ashevilleart.org


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Exhibitions

Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens

Vantage Points: Contemporary Photography from the Whitney Museum of American Art

Fantastical Forms: Ceramics as Sculpture

Question Bridge: Black Males

Muddying the Waters: Exploring Traditions in North Carolina Clay

Ernest Trova: Selections from the F.M. Manscapes Portfolio

Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens
January 22–April 19, 2021
Appleby Foundation Exhibition Hall

This extraordinary exhibition, drawn from the collection of the Reading Public Museum, explores the path to Impressionism through the 19th century in France. The show examines the sometimes complex relationship between French Impressionism of the 1870s and 1880s and the American interpretation of the style in the decades that followed.

Seventy paintings and works on paper help tell the story of the “new style” of painting which developed at the end of the 19th century—one that emphasized light and atmospheric conditions, rapid or loose brushstrokes, and a focus on brightly colored scenes from everyday life, including both urban and rural settings when artists preferred to paint outdoors and capture changing effects of light during different times of day and seasons of the year.

Artists include Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Berthe Morisot, and more.

The Museum collaborated with the Asheville Symphony to enhance the dynamic visual experience of Across the Atlantic through a second sense: sound. Musicians from the Symphony selected and recorded music composed in France and the United States by George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, and others at the same time as these artworks’ creation. Immerse yourself in the musical experience daily at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm, with additional streams at 6pm and 8pm on Thursday evenings. To listen to similar music at other times on your smart device, access the Asheville Art Museum’s Across the Atlantic playlist on YouTube here.

This exhibition is ticketed:
$7 Museum Members
$10 non-members + Museum admission
Please note: Guest passes for complimentary general admission are not valid for this exhibition.

Vantage Points: Contemporary Photography from the Whitney Museum of American Art
December 18, 2020 through March 15, 2021

Vantage Points: Contemporary Photography from the Whitney Museum of American Art will be on view in the Asheville Art Museum's Explore Asheville Exhibition Hall December 18, 2020 through March 15, 2021. Vantage Points?features a selection of photographic works from the 1970s to the mid-2000s that highlights how photography has been used to represent individuals, places, and narratives. Drawn exclusively from the Whitney's permanent collection, this presentation includes approximately 20 artists, including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Gregory Crewdson, William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Peter Hujar, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, and Andy Warhol.

"We're thrilled to bring this presentation of photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art's collection to Western North Carolina," said Hillary Schroeder, assistant curator. "The diverse group of artists in this exhibition offer views through the lenses of their cameras into the stories, individuals, and places of contemporary Americana that varies from the viscerally real to fantastically imagined."

These artists began working at a time when photography was becoming increasingly integrated into the art world. Technological developments permitted them to use many different photographic processes and to print their works in various sizes, including ones that would create an immersive impact. The photographs included in this exhibition range from seemingly straightforward representations to those with an imaginative or conceptual perspective that challenge traditional notions of photography as revealing a singular reality.

Many of the artists during this period used photography to portray their communities, friends, and themselves. Robert Mapplethorpe's portraits highlight the physicality of his subjects, while those by Peter Hujar, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol emphasize a personal intimacy. Diane Arbus's photographs, such as Untitled #16 (1970–1971), expose the relationship between the photographer and the subject as they reveal themselves to her. In Cerise (2002) Richard Artschwager transformed photographs taken of his subject from different angles into a three-dimensional freestanding form.

Other artists portrayed the characteristics and poetics of place through photography. William Eggleston's spontaneous color photographs, such as Untitled (Flowers in Front of Window) (circa 1970), depict a landscape of everyday life in the South, while Richard Avedon's black and white photograph Bill Curry, Drifter, Interstate 40, Yukon, Oklahoma, 6/16/80 (1980) from his In the American West (1985) series is a tribute to the way the body can reflect a sense of place. Historical and social aspects of place are emphasized in Vera Lutter's ominous photograph The Appropriation of Manhattan, Fire boat House, Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn New York, May 20, 1996 (1996), made from a large-scale camera obscura. A conceptual relationship between perspective and sense of place is highlighted in Rodney Graham's inverted photographs of solitary trees taken in the English countryside, such as Oak, Banford (1990).

Depictions of the individual and of place often overlap in photographs that explore the narrative potential of photography. By combining images or fragments of images, sometimes with text, artists used photography during this time to explore imaginary or conceptual narratives that speak to personal, social, and political histories. The text in Lorna Simpson's Outline (1990), which is printed on plastic plaques and affixed to two black-and-white photographs, can be read from left to right and in relationship to the photographs. They suggest various social and historical experiences of African American women. Other artists photographed staged situations in order to encourage narratives. These range from an imaginary personal history—based on assumptions drawn from a gesture, clothing, hair, and makeup—as in Cindy Sherman's Untitled (2000), to a fantastic story of a moment in time, as in Gregory Crewdson's Untitled (beckoning bus driver) (2001–2002), set on a dark suburban street.

This selection of works from the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum reveals the strength of the photographic image in the late-20th and early-21st century in the United States. In surprising and inventive ways, the artists included in this presentation have pushed the boundaries of the medium and expanded the role of photography within the history of art.

Admission to Vantage Points is free for Museum Members or included with general admission. This exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and curated by Carrie Springer, assistant curator, Whitney Museum. Additionally, Vantage Points was organized around transformative gifts and promised gifts to the Whitney Museum from Emily Fisher Landau.

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges.

Fantastical Forms: Ceramics as Sculpture
Through April 5, 2021
Judith S. Moore Gallery

The 25 works in Fantastical Forms: Ceramics as Sculpture highlight the Museum’s Collection of sculptural ceramics from the last two decades of the 20th century to the present. Each work illustrates the artist’s ability to push beyond the utilitarian and transition ceramics into the world of sculpture.

Ceramics often serve a practical purpose, and fired clay is traditionally used to make coffee mugs, plates, and vases—many of the things we use every day and have for hundreds of years. Around 1870, ceramicists began experimenting with those functional shapes to make what they called “art pottery” as a decorative addition to one’s home. After World War II more art students learned ceramics on the GI Bill; by the 1960s, artists had expanded the field even further, with some completely abandoning functionality as a prerequisite of ceramics. Those artists saw themselves as fine artists who created sculptures in clay, and eventually the art world followed suit. By the 1980s, artists who began the movement in the mid-century were well established and teaching the next generation of sculptural ceramicists. Many of their students went on to create fantastical and imaginative forms, both abstract and figurative.

North and South Carolina artists featured include Elma McBride Johnson, Neil Noland, Norm Schulman, Virginia Scotchie, Cynthia Bringle, Jane Palmer, Michael Sherrill, and Akira Satake. Works by American artists Don Reitz, Robert Chapman Turner, Karen Karnes, Toshiko Takaezu, Bill Griffith, and Xavier Toubes are also featured in the exhibition.

Curated by Associate Curator Whitney Richardson.

Question Bridge: Black Males
Through March 15, 2021
Multipurpose Space

Question Bridge: Black Males is a project that explores critically challenging issues within the African American male community by instigating a transmedia conversation among Black men across geographic, economic, generational, educational, and social strata of American society. Question Bridge provides a safe setting for necessary, honest expression and healing dialogue on themes that divide, unite, and puzzle Black males today in the United States.

Question Bridge originated in 1996, when artist Chris Johnson (born 1948) was looking for a way to use new-media art to generate meaningful conversation around class and generational divisions within San Diego’s African American community. Mediated through the lens of a video camera, 10 members of the Black community were provided a format to openly express their deeply felt beliefs and values through candid question-and-answer exchanges. None of the questions or answers were prompted. Over the course of four years, Johnson, along with fellow artists Hank Willis Thomas (born 1976), Bayeté Ross Smith (born 1976), and Kamal Sinclair (born 1976), traveled the nation collecting questions and answers from over 150 Black men in eight cities (New York, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Philadelphia) that comprise a video catalog of 1,500 exchanges. Within this extended community, surprising insights and new possibilities for witnessing our common humanity emerge.

Question Bridge: Black Males is a fiscally sponsored project of the Bay Area Video Coalition—a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization—and supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Institute: Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the Tribeca Film Institute, the LEF Foundation, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the California College of the Arts. The project was supported by the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab.

Learn more: questionbridge.com

Muddying the Waters: Exploring Traditions in North Carolina Clay
Through February 1, 2021
Debra McClinton Gallery

This exhibition of ceramics explores the movements and connections of makers as a way to push boundaries of regionality and tradition while highlighting the richness and complexity of makers and practices around North Carolina. Curated by former Curatorial Fellow and Windgate Curatorial Intern Sarah Kelly.

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Judy Appleton Memorial Fund and the Michael Lask Fund.

Ernest Trova: Selections from the F.M. Manscapes Portfolio
Through January 25, 2021
The Van Winkle Law Firm Gallery

Ernest Trova creates in the F.M. Manscapes portfolio a world for his iconic Falling Man figure, an every-person he saw as a symbol for a person’s evolution through lived experiences. Vibrant colors, geometric patterns, and repetitive forms merge to communicate a sense of movement and environment as the prints detail the Falling Man’s layered journey.

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