Local News

Sculpture Adds to Art Museum Expansion

Posted August 8, 2007

— A scultpure named Collapse made its debut Wednesday amid a monumental, multimillion-dollar expansion at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The sculpture, a 30-foot-long fallen human figure, evokes "ideas of permanence and impermanence, with its human reference," Ledelle Moe, the creator of Collapse, said.

Those ideas behind the installation comment ironically on the expansion under way at the museum.

A new 127,000-square-foot building will house the museum's permanent collection and allow it to accommodate 100,000 more visitors annually. The museum's annual attendance averages 250,000 visitors.

"We're building it to respond to true needs, both of the collection and of the public," Larry Wheeler, the museum director, said.

The museum will be able to host larger traveling exhibits and the crowds they attract, with its permanent collection in another building, Wheeler said.

The museum recently broke attendance records with an exhibit of works by the French master of impressionism, Claude Monet. The Monet exhibit ran from October 2006 to January 2007.

The traveling exhibit drew an average of 2,500 people a day, totalling 214,177 people from all 100 counties in North Carolina, all 50 states and five foreign countries. Fifty-eight percent of the attendees came from outside the Triangle.

Those numbers justify the $75 million expansion, which is being funded by a combination of state, city and county tax dollars, Wheeler said.

"Of course, we'll have enough visitors. We already have more visitors than we can accommodate in our existing facility," Wheeler said.

Once the expansion is completed in the fall of 2009, the North Carolina Museum of Art's campus will be the country's largest art museum park.


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  • mbs Aug 10, 2007

    Our museum also owns a Monet and is due to get another, thanks to Jim Goodnight.

  • onyourheels2 Aug 9, 2007

    does anybody know what caused it to collasped? maybe if they find the cause they can prevent this from happening in the future.

  • JDPike Aug 9, 2007

    The new museum building is hideous. The roof is a joke, it will have continuous problems with leaking, and is a blank box/wall the best that they can come up with for the exterior of the building. I think that the city if getting hosed and shouldn't just accept just anything that is put before them. With $70 million, there are so many things that they could do with the building.

  • nisa-pizza Aug 9, 2007

    I think the best thing about it is when little kids recognize the works and get hooked on going to the museum. My nephew was 9 or 10 when Rodin's works were in town and it was very crowded where the pieces were but he just lost it when he recognized the piece that he saw on Ferris Bueller's day off which is his favorite movie. (the piece where the guy is standing with his arms folded in front of him and his legs are wide apart.) Ferris and his friends were standing beside it imitating the pose. My nephew just stood there in the same pose just like the movie and wouldn't move and he had the biggest smile on his face. After a few minutes of this I forced him to move
    so people could get by easier. I was thrilled he appreciated it and he mentions it to this day.

    It's like going to a concert to see your favorite band without the huge crowds and much quieter for people who can't find the magic in it. Degas, Renoir, Wyeth, Homer they're all there far from being useless.

  • NC is my home Aug 9, 2007

    This new addition is alright, but when is the NC Museum of Art going to realize that there are wonderful artists right here in North Carolina? It would be nice to have a major, permanent exhibit of North Carolinian works. Also, the last movie with a North Carolinian I saw there was several years ago--Ava Gardner in the "Barefoot Contessa". Why don't they run a series with the many actors from the state--Andy Griffith, Sidney Blackmer, Randolph Scott, Eileen Fulton, Nick Searcy, Sharon Lawrence, Anne Jeffreys & Ava Gardner? Or even movies made here? When it comes to art--NC can stand with the best of them!

  • blackdog Aug 9, 2007

    It is refreshing to see contemporary art at the museum. The state has attracted well known artists in the past, but hasn't been able to keep them here. Exposure to art is important. You might even learn something.

  • ayngel Aug 9, 2007

    nisa-pizza, I wholeheartedly agree!

    I remember when I was a teenager and going to the New York World's Fair. Michelangelo's Pieta was on display - this gorgeous huge white statue with only velvet ropes separating me from this famous work of art. I can remember staring at it and not believing I was seeing it "in person". I was in awe and I just felt like I was in the presence of greatness. You don't get those feelings from a picture in a book.

    I went to the Monet exhibit, my husband and I are contributors to the NC Museum of Art, and it was absolutely amazing to see these priceless works of art right there within touching distance.

    For those of you who haven't been, I highly recommend visiting the museum. We have a genuine Georgia O'Keefe in our museum! And lots of other marvelous pieces of history. You won't regret it.

  • nisa-pizza Aug 9, 2007

    I love the museum. When Rodin's "The Thinker" was on the front lawn during the exhibition I couldn't believe I was seeing it in person. Seeing the other scupltures like "The Kiss" etc that you always see in the movies and know that people may not get to travel places to look at is wonderful. Some people can't appreciate that, but I know that it's priceless to show kids famous works of art that they see in movies up close that chances are they'd never ever get the chance to see in their lifetimes. (A sculpture that was in Ferris Bueller was here then too.) Some people may find it useless but when you watch tv or movies, hear music on the radio, read a fantastic book, it's all expressions of someone's passions and I don't find that useless at all. Think of how our lives would be without those things. And to think, some of the most beautiful works of art are and have been right here. I don't mind paying taxes for that privilege at all.

  • haggis basher Aug 9, 2007

    I like visiting the art museum but just curious as to who paid for that "Collapse" sculpture? maybe it looks better in context and in the flesh but from what I saw on TV last night it looked like something that need to be hauled of to the landfill!

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Aug 9, 2007

    We need to be using tax money for other things, this is nothing more than a show case for useless junk. Nice sculpture by the way, it doesn't look like just a log or anything...wow, truly an inspired piece.