What do you do with the emotions and feelings of anger, pain, exclusion, and sadness of daily life? At the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the art exhibit in “Reality of My Surroundings” serve as expressions and extensions of social commentary through art. Viewers can awaken and evoke these emotions through various works of 33 artists from the United States and other parts of the world. The vibrant colors and textures interpret positive emotions such as happiness, inclusion, humor, and more that are enmeshed in the themes of life’s more harsh realities. The beauty comes from what art does so well with or without words. The collection celebrates the museum’s 10th anniversary and, according to the press release, “‘Reality of My Surroundings’ demonstrates the museum’s ongoing commitment to collecting contemporary work by global artists, with a focus on artists of African descent. The exhibition emphasizes art’s unique role in effecting cultural change and highlights works that address pressing social issues of our day, particularly race, gender, class, immigration and globalization.”
The exhibit includes various types of mixed media, photography, sculptures, paintings, video instillation and an exaggerated size of a gold chain made from foil with a CNN pendent. Many of the works are new acquisitions, including the video Girls, Tricky by Academy Award-winning artist/director Steve McQueen.
There are other galleries to view extended works from Ansel Adams, Richard Mosse, and Nasher’s masterwork collections that are different extensions of artists’ realities and inspirations. There may be complexities and ambiguity in art interpretations, but as new visitors at the museum, Adam Schultz explains to his children, four, nine, and seven years old, the simplicity and intricacy of Ansel Adams photograph of a fern with raindrops. Watching the children’s inspired interest at such a young age ignited by “dad” is like watching a live exhibit of bonding with art and a “Reality of My Surroundings” of sweetness, innocence and love in real time. Art is everywhere.
Reality of My Surroundings: The Contemporary Collection
October 1, 2015 – July 10, 2016
Artists include Hurvin Anderson, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Christian Boltanski, William Cordova, Noah Davis, Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Dario Escobar, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Thomas Hirschhorn, Rashid Johnson, Kerry James Marshall, Beverly McIver, Steve McQueen, Zanele Muholi, Wangechi Mutu, Ebony G. Patterson, Fahamu Pecou, Robert Pruitt, Dario Robleto, Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Paul Anthony Smith, Jeff Sonhouse, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Barthélémy Toguo, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. The exhibition is organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art.
The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light
August 27, 2015 – September 18, 2016
The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light is a comprehensive and dynamic reinstallation of the museum’s collection. Eight new galleries are dedicated to specific collection areas highlighting many of the museum’s masterworks while illustrating a history of human creativity. The Ancient World covers a broad geographical and chronological reach.
Installation Within the New Galleries: Sharp Focus: Ansel Adams and American Photography
August 27, 2015 – November 29, 2015
The Nasher Museum presents a small installation of works by Ansel Adams in the Incubator, as part of The New Galleries . Sharp Focus: Ansel Adams and American Photography presents a view into the rich and diverse body of work of one of the most iconic American artists.
Richard Mosse: The Enclave
August 27, 2015 – January 10, 2016
The Nasher Museum presents Richard Mosse’s The Enclave, an immersive 40-minute six-channel video installation shot in eastern Congo. The Enclave is the culmination of the artist’s recent body of work and will be on view in the Southeast for the first time. Debuting at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, where Mosse represented Ireland, The Enclave is a beautiful and haunting look at a region of Africa that has been plagued by civil war, political instability and humanitarian crises for decades.