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Saturday April 1st

UNC alumni lend art to Ackland's new exhibit, Carolina Collects

Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred.

It’s a fact that the UNC experience follows graduates for the rest of their lives.

The Ackland Art Museum’s next exhibition — called “Carolina Collects: 150 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art” — emphasizes that feeling.

Carolina Collects — which opens on Sept. 9 — is a compilation of art works donated from six decades of UNC alumni. Including about 90 diverse pieces, the collection brings together both contemporary and modern sculptures, paintings and photography.

“Those generously lending their art are not all art majors and come from all different schools,” said Emily Bowles, director of communications for the Ackland.

“It’s important to have the exhibition debuting with students arriving because it really drives home the fact that Carolina alums have made art an important part of their lives.”

The collection includes works from big names as well — Picasso, Matisse and Durant, to name a few.

Charles Wolfe, a UNC alum who graduated in 1965, donated a watercolor piece by the French artist Gustave Doré.

Wolfe, who was a political science and history double major, said that collecting art was a part of the family business.

“My father was born in Budapest, Hungary,” he said. “In his coming to the U.S. in World War II, his family collected art.”

Wolfe’s collection spans mediums and decades. Much of what the family has is 19th and 20th century European art.

He was approached by Ackland’s chief curator Peter Nisbet in New York. After Wolfe and his wife agreed to donate, Nisbet went through his collection, looking for the right piece.

Wolfe said that Nisbet finally found the Doré and thought it would fit into the general theme of the exhibit.

“It connects us with mankind, it connects us with the human condition,” Wolfe said about the idea of featuring alumni collections.

“I think since ancient cave drawings, we’ve been attempting to make some sense of the world around us. Art is incredibly enriching whether you collect it, own it or go to a museum.”

About 90 pieces will be on display with Carolina Collects — an “unprecedented amount for a large University,” Bowles said.

“It’s the first time in 40 years that this has been done,” she said.
Bowles called the exhibition an historical art evolution.

“In choosing the works, (Nisbet) had to really pick and choose,” she said. “This put him in the position of having to turn down art.”

Wolfe said he finds the concept of alumni collections on display enriching.

“Many of the things that we have and acquired are approachable for many people,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be only for the mega wealthy.”

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