Raleigh, N.C. — Looking for something to do with those relatives who are visiting for the holidays this month? If they are interested in art or geography, a trip to the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh might be a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
CAM's latest exhibit "Surveying the Terrain" delves into how our terrain is viewed. The 10 artists featured all use technology like Google Earth to showcase how we view the world.
This exhibit isn't just for art buffs. Regular art fans will definitely enjoy the way in which technology and images are used. You don't have to be a huge contemporary art fan to enjoy this exhibit. Just walk around and take in all in.
Artist David Maisel's piece uses aerial views of cities in an effort to allow "one to experience the landscape like a vast map of its own undoing," according to the exhibit program. I was impressed by how beautiful and abstract everything looked from the sky.
"Mappa del Mundo, after Alighiero Boetti" by artist Vik Muniz shows that nothing is permanent on this earth. The piece shows a map of the world's countries before the Soviet Union was dissolved and many other countries didn't exist.
I was most impressed with how technology was used to inspire the artists. Artist Mishka Henner uses Google Earth Pro to map out American oil fields. To see how many there are in just a concentrated area was eye-opening.
In her work, Laura Kurgan uses Ikonos and Quickbird satellite images over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a tropical rain forest in southeastern Cameroon and the intersection of the equator and the Prime Meridian in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
My favorite section of the exhibit is Matthew Jensen's "photography" of 49 states using Google Street View. He found images that depicted each state and managed to get the sun in every shot. It is meant to be a look at what it would look like to drive through the 49 states. He didn't have Hawaii in there because Google Street View didn't exist there when he did the project.
While you are there, make sure to pick up a few postcards depicting humorous, weird views from Google Earth. They are free and part of Clement Valla's "Postcards from Google Earth" collection.
But this exhibit isn't just maps. Alfredo Jaar's "Lament of the Images" delves into the lack of images available due to corporate or government control.
Finally, make sure to leave enough time to sit down and watch Maya Lin's "What is Missing?" The short documentary aims to raise awareness about species and habitat loss and what changes can be made. Very powerful.
"Surveying the Terrain" runs through Jan. 13. Admission is free for CAM Raleigh members, children 10 and under, members of NARM and Mod/Co, active members of the military and their families, area college students and N.C. State College of Design students, staff and faculty. For everyone else, it is $5 to get in.
There are guided tours of current exhibits every Sunday from 2-3 p.m.