As an example, Dougherty referenced the work of Yayoi Kusama, an 89-year-old Japanese artist. Her piece, “Light of Life,” uses LED and computer technology to engage viewers in a light show.
In addition to Kusama, the exhibition showcases the work of North Carolinian Heather Gordon. Her work “Cinnabar” greets visitors right as they enter and depicts the chemical reaction of mercury and sulfur.
“I knew I wanted it to be about alchemy,” Gordon said of the piece. “The show is all about transformative experiences.”
As a local artist, Gordon said she felt proud to be a part of the museum’s ambitious undertaking.
“This isn’t your regular exhibit,” she said. “It’s not usual for this area. We don’t get these kind of shows here. It’s absolutely a stunner.”
Emily Kotecki works as manager of interpretation for the museum and has witnessed many positive reactions to various pieces of art in the exhibition over the past few days.
“You cannot go wrong,” Kotecki said. “Each room provides such a different experience. It’s hard for me to say which is most compelling.”
The exhibition features interpretative activities in addition to the artwork itself. Four iPads showcase interviews with 12 of the artists, allowing visitors to gain some insight into the creative process behind their works. The museum also offers a space for visitors to conceptualize their own art.
“You become an artist yourself,” Kotecki said. “It helps you relate to art in a different way.”
The museum also partnered with Fullsteam Brewery to create different beers inspired by all the artwork.
“I had never done something like that,” Gordon said. “I don’t think it’s a bad overlap. I think it’s interesting.”
Overall, the exhibition covers a whole floor of the museum’s temporary exhibition galleries and even continues out into the Museum Park.
“We traditionally do paintings and sculptures,” Dougherty said. “Now, we’re expanding the definition of art. It’s an opportunity for people to see work from artists all over the world and to open their mind to what art can be — especially contemporary art.”