Following a six-week makeover, the Ackland Art Museum reopened its doors last week, complete with a new exhibit and a host of plans for the future.
The new exhibit, “Three Sides to a Sheet of Paper,” showcases 80 prints from the museum’s extensive gallery of around 8,000 prints.
“The idea of the exhibit is to show off the riches of what is the largest and one of the finest parts of the museum collection, that is the collection of prints,” said Timothy Riggs, curator of collections for the Ackland.
The exhibit features prints from artists such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Liechtenstein and Goya. The prints date between the years 1482 and 2002.
“Three Sides to a Sheet of Paper” features a variety of art, including pop art, renaissance art and magazine covers.
“It’s partly to show that this is a major medium,” said Riggs. “When we think about art museums and art we think about paintings and sculptures. When we think about prints, we think of a poster shop.
“The fact is prints are everything and everywhere.”
In addition to the new exhibit, this year marks the 150th birthday of museum benefactor William Hayes Ackland.
In celebration, the museum started a late-night art viewing program called ‘Art After Dark’ that allows patrons access to the museum until 9 p.m.
The first program is Sept. 9 and will include a birthday cake and live music. From that date on, the museum will be open until 9 p.m. on the second Friday of every month.
The museum has an interesting history.
William Hayes Ackland originally sent his estate to Duke University, but only on the stipulation that he be buried in the museum. The university rejected his offer and after a long legal battle the Ackland Art Museum opened its doors on the UNC campus in 1958.
Museum officials said the “Art After Dark” programs aim to make the Ackland a destination for those who work during the day or who are busy during daytime hours.
“We really want to encourage socialization at the Ackland,” said Maria Gloeggler, director of communications.
Along with new signs to make the galleries easier to navigate, the Ackland plans to print a monthly gallery guide that will give patrons a better understanding of the museum and keep them up to date about the rotating array of exhibits.
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