The Association of Museum Curators awarded an Award of Excellence honorable mention to the Ackland for “More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing since the 1990s,” an exhibition that ran from Feb. 1 to March 31 in 2013.
The contemporary art exhibition was organized by consulting curator Claire Schneider, who had been working on the project for more than five years when she brought it to the Ackland.
The exhibit featured 48 works of art by 33 contemporary artists from around the nation. All works from various mediums focused on the topic of love in a social and political context.
“I wanted to really think about that in a serious way and also to think about how it’s changed over time because it’s one of the most human emotions, but more than that — just connecting with other people and what that means in a political and social level,” Schneider said.
Arizona-based artist Gregory Sale was one of the featured artists, using community members as part of his artwork. At the show, buttons displaying poetry written by local homeless people, English-as-a-second-language speakers and food bank recipients were distributed.
“Museum visitors and community participants connected deeply with individual artworks and/or projects,” Sale said. “Too often exhibitions that don’t happen in major cultural hubs get overlooked by national media. Fittingly, this award recognizes on a national level the quality of the exhibition.”
Emily Kass, director of the Ackland, said she was not surprised at its success.
“We chose the topic because we had the sense that it was an important exhibition at the right time with the right artists that would be a part of the national conversation,” she said. “It was an important show at the right moment.”
Due to the stress of the project, chief curator Peter Nisbet said another exhibition of this scale is not currently in the works, but said “More Love” is an inspiration for the future.
“I think it definitely proves to a lot of people both inside the museum, at the university and in the art world in general, that the Ackland is ready and able to step up and play a part in the national conversation about contemporary art,” he said.
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