North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)
While visiting Raleigh, North Carolina, for a few months, someone recommended the North Carolina Museum of Art. I love art, and became pretty excited after reading a few raving reviews online.
Located on Blue Ridge Road, two wings (East and West) greet visitors. NCMA is something intended to stand out. Evidenced by it’s breadth of space and land used solely for the museum. Inside and out displays artistry in the form of sculptures, monumental art, paintings, and more.
A large expanse of acreage (164 acres) where the Museum Park is located features more than a dozen major pieces of artwork from the likes of Thomas Sayre, Chris Drury, Vollis Simpson, and others. Family activities are planned here. On sunny days, a good many were picnicking or playing on the hills. It was nice to see.
On my first visit (early part of 2019), I viewed a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit in the East Building. A temporary display as part of rotating exhibitions at the museum. This was an opportunity to view Georgia O’Keefe’s art in person, so I paid a little. (Entering the West Building, where the permanent collection resides, is free. The park is free as well.)
Many periods of work displayed a side of O’Keefe not always shown. Her drawings, paintings of New Mexico and New York, still life, abstract work, etc., were examples of the assortment featured. Similar to the one painted above, more often than not she is known for painting flowers. Having more pieces than her aptitude for enlarged floral paintings, which helped make her an icon, illuminated a more complete picture of her artistic capability.
In the West Building, Rodin’s craft is illustrated. Above is a picture of a large photograph of Rodin’s studio displayed near many indoor sculptures. The only other museum I have seen showcasing so much of Auguste Rodin’s work on the East Coast was in Philadelphia.
According to ncartmuseum.org, in 2009 the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation donated thirty (30!) sculptures. Featuring so much work made throughout his career truly gives an ability to grasp the exceptional quality of Rodin.
If one goes through side doors to a garden, Rodin’s large sculptures are beside pools of water. The scene is a bit surreal. Life-size (or larger) statues leave you feeling left in a dreamlike space.
I truly enjoyed seeing the work of Claude Monet, Andrew Wyeth, Camille Pissarro, Anthony Van Dyck, Raphael, Rubens, etc. The collection as a whole was so inspiring and massive one trip could not do justice. As such, I visited a few times while in North Carolina.
Areas are divided and grouped with a common theme: American, European, Egyptian, African, Judaic, Contemporary, etc. No one area is of more importance than another. Each is highlighted with meaningful space. Placards are routinely seen throughout explaining artists, some going in-depth with a bit of history or biography.
Overall, this was a great museum, exceeding my expectations. I would even recommend going out of your way a couple hours solely to see it. Too many features transcend the usual show of art.
The layout is airy which fits nicely with the organized theme. There is a museum restaurant just to the right upon entering the West building which looked elegant. In each building, help was at front. And parking is free.
A definite ability to spend a day at the park or museum exists.
All photos taken by me on iphone XS beginning of 2019