I was delighted to have the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Nasher Museum earlier this week to see the installation of their newest exhibit “Area 919: Artists in the Triangle.”
It is titled as such because all of the artists being exhibited hail from the 919 area code. I was lucky enough to bring talented photographer Katie Frohbose with me to shoot the installation. (All photo credits herein to her.)
The Director of Engagement and Marketing at the Nasher, Wendy Hower, gave us a personal behind the ropes tour and the inside story on the exhibit.
As a writer and a patron of the arts locally, I was curious how artists were chosen. After all, it is a tremendous honor to be selected to exhibit in an internationally recognized museum like the Nasher. Works by internationally renowned surrealist Joan Miró are the current exhibit and on the night I was at the Nasher, there was an overflow crowd for a lecture by the Curator and Head of Display at the Tate Modern (only one of the world’s most well-known museums).
above left, Jeff Whetstone, “Melanoplus Swarm”
above right, the video set-up for George Jenne, “Knowing Me (knowing you).”
Hower told me that, uniquely, this show was chosen by all of the curators. It is a survey show of the artistic flowering in this area rather than a thematic show. As such, a deliberate effort was made to select a variety of mediums; photographic prints, painting, sculpture, mixed media, works on paper, video, and performance-installation.
All of the curators of the Nasher live in Durham. This is show is about the artists next door. Hower said, Duke artists had exhibited at the museum, but this was the first explicitly local exhibit, and none of the artists were to be Duke affiliated.
She told me that the curators didn’t exactly have to ask around to find these artists. These people are curators because they love art. They live locally. Put the two together and voila, these artists are people with whom these curators are familiar, that they consort with, know, admire, and follow, at minimum artistically and in some cases, personally. The connections are as intimate as the two and a half degrees of separation that we frequently describe in our little village.
Among the artists, Damian Stamer is North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Recipient and UNC-Chapel Hill Master of Fine Arts graduate. Lincoln Hancock and Yuxtapongo populated their “Exploded Hipster” with clothing donated off the backs of the Triangle musical community.
Among the curators, one is part of a local DJ tandem, is married to an art consultant and former Durham gallery owner, yet another is a local dancer and community activist, a fourth is intimately connected to Pizzeria Toro and a fifth to CenterStudio Architecture.
Meet the Curators
Marshall N. Price is the Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum. He received a Ph.D. in Art History from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dr. Price was Curatorial Assistant at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and from 2003‐2014 he was Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at theNational Academy Museum, New York. He has organized dozens of exhibitions including most ecently Jeffrey Gibson: Said the Pigeon to the Squirrel, Pat Steir: Blue River, John Cage: The Sight of Silence, and George Tooker: A Retrospective.
Over the course of his career Marshall has lectured and written extensively on modern and contemporary art including several recent publications
Marshall moved to Durham in spring of 2014.
His girlfriend, Martha Clippinger, is an artist in residence at GoldenBelt.
Trevor Schoonmaker is Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum. Since he was hired in 2006, Trevor has been instrumental in building the Nasher Museum’s contemporary art collection and exhibition program. In 2008 he curated the retrospective exhibition, “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool,” which traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2010 he curated “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl,” which traveled to the ICA Boston, among other venues. He organized Building the Contemporary Collection: Five Years of Acquisitions in 2011 and Sound Vision: Contemporary Art from the Collection in 2014. In 2013 he curated Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey, which traveled to the Brooklyn Museum.
In 2001 he co-founded “Jump N Funk” with DJ Rich Medina, New York’s first Afrobeat club night.
Schoonmaker has a B.A. in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In a huge new honor, Prospect New Orleans has appointed Trevor as the artistic director of its fourth edition, scheduled to open in 2017. For the Nasher, he is working on “Southern Accent,” an in-depth exploration of the complex identity of the American South and the region’s profound influence on American culture.
Reneé Cagnina Haynes is the Exhibitions and Publications Manager in the Nasher Museum’s curatorial department. Since joining the Nasher Museum staff in 2009, she has managed such outstanding touring exhibitions and accompanying catalogues as “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” (2014, currently on tour), “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey” (2013), and “The Record: Contemporary Art & Vinyl” (2010).
Haynes has also collaborated with North Carolina-based chefs, Kip and Amelia Lindsay, on the Yum Yum Supper Club, a curated celebration of nearby food, people of the Triangle, and the changing seasons. Yum Yum has highlighted the talents of executive chefs Chris Holloway (Parts&Labor) and Brent Hopkins (Gravy), as well as up-and-coming chef, Austin Genke (Boxcarr Farms), amongst others. Cagnina Haynes has also volunteered with the Durham Storefront Project and Durham Central Park. She and her husband, Morgan Haynes, DJ at WXDU, Motorco Music Hall, and elsewhere under the moniker Strider + Marie.
Molly Boarati is assistant curator at the Nasher Museum. She’s been at the museum and in living in Durham for four years. Molly got her Master of Art in Art History from Boston University. She has worked at numerous museums and commercial galleries in both the United States and Venice, Italy. She loves to attend Third-Friday openings in Durham to see what local artists are creating. (And we happen to know that her husband is a local bon vivant.)
Chanelle Croxton is the Curatorial Assistant at the Nasher Museum of Art. She is a 2012 Duke University graduate and has been a permanent Durham resident since 2013. She is a local dance artist and performs with SOULOWORKS/ Andrea E. Woods & Dancers and the Duke University African Repertory Ensemble. She is also involved in community organizing around social liberation and justice.