When it was first published in Moscow in 1914, Natalia Goncharova’s work struck critics as the visual equivalent to Igor Stravinsky’s contentious ballet, “The Rite of Spring.”
Today, the Russian avant-garde artist’s 14 lithographs go on display in the Ackland Art Museum.
The exhibit, “Mystical Images of War,” contributes to Carolina Performing Arts’ “The Rite of Spring at 100” series.
“It’s difficult for us to have a perspective of 100 years ago,” said Emily Bowles, director of communications at Ackland Art Museum.
“But I think it’s important for people to be able to look back and know that there were these moments when art shook people.”
Goncharova’s lithographs were first published the year after “The Rite of Spring.” The Parisian audience who viewed them rioted in response.
Combining primitivism and modernity with violence and redemption, the lithographs serve as complements to Stravinsky’s ballet.
Emily Kass, the Ackland’s director, said the staff started thinking about their contribution to “The Rite of Spring at 100” a year ago.
Once they decided to feature Goncharova’s work, it did not take long for chief curator Peter Nisbet to plan and prepare the exhibit.