The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday March 21st

Ackland Art Museum Store holds show featuring Ron Liberti

The poster/screenprinting art of Ron Liberti at Ackland Art Museum Store
Buy Photos The poster/screenprinting art of Ron Liberti at Ackland Art Museum Store

Ron Liberti isn’t ready to mount his career retrospective.

At 44, the Carrboro graphic artist says he’s still got enough posters and screen prints in the works to keep him occupied for years to come.

So the Ackland Museum Store gallery’s current display of Liberti’s posters and screen prints – culled from his 20 years in the Triangle’s music and art scenes – serves as more of a career check-in than a culminating celebration.

“When I die, maybe I’ll get into a museum,” Liberti said. “But for now, a gallery’s okay. It’s a ‘Greatest Hits’ kind of thing.”

The exhibit, “20 Years in Print: The Art of Ron,” is the Ackland Museum Store’s second since the space opened in May. It will be on display until Sept. 30.

But the dozens of colorful posters on the walls and shelves of the Franklin Street storefront are still up for sale, which was a selling point for Liberti when he agreed to participate in the exhibit.

Liberti freelances, making his income stream flexible and often inconsistent.

“It definitely could be a weird thing, that the posters are for sale in a gallery setting,” Liberti said.

The posters range in color and style. Earlier entries are cut-and-paste jobs cobbled together on a copy machine, while later posters show a more advanced screen printing technique.

The bands, political causes and music clubs promoted in the posters provide a glimpse into the region’s recent cultural history.

On a single gallery wall, ads for Superchunk line up next to political rallies against former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms and concert promotions for current artist Andrew Bird, among others.

If the posters have an uncanny familiarity, it’s likely due to the fact that Liberti continues to design posters for local bands and events. He created a poster for the Ackland’s November 2010 benefit gala, where he also made unique screen prints for guests.

While Liberti appreciates the profit from the gallery, he ultimately thinks his work has more of a life out in the community that has supported his work for so long.

“The work lives and breathes out there on telephone poles and bedroom walls,” he said. “If people want in, the more the merrier.”

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