(336) 334-5770

Exhibition Announcement:

New Exhibition Explores Human Relationships - Ties that Bind


The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro has organized the exhibition Ties that Bind: Selections from the Collection, on view until February 14, 2021. John Fawcett wrote a hymn on the theme in 1800, “blest be the tie that binds.” Bruce Springsteen took a different approach in an eponymous song popular in 1980, singing “you don’t want nothin’, don’t need no one by your side/You’re walkin’ tough baby, but you’re walkin’ blind/To the ties that bind.” Whether entwined in fellowship with kindred spirits or stretched to the point of breaking, the ties that bind us to one another are often some of the most significant markers in our lives. Ties that Bind explores the various types of relationships that define, brighten, inspire, or perhaps even challenge us on a daily basis.

The exhibition includes works from the Weatherspoon's collection by, among many others: Janine Antoni, Benny Andrews, Diane Arbus, Romare Bearden, Jean Charlot, David Hass, Nan Goldin, Alex Katz, Nikki Lee, Malcolm Morley, Fairfield Porter, Charlie Roberts, Vibeke Tandberg, and Marion Post Wolcott. The works explore familial relationships, be they between mother and child or self-identified families, and less fixed, but equally important ties—to lovers, friends, and even objects. And, because life can be arduous at times, the tension, separateness, and alienation that result from unhealthy ties or from a lack of connection are also considered.

The exhibition is on display at a time when we are (re)examining our relationships with one other, particularly friends and family who we can and cannot spend time with due to the global pandemic. The artworks prompt viewers to contemplate the people and things that might be important to their mental and emotional health and why. In short, who brings comfort and joy to our lives and who are we separated from by distance, if not love? Images like Benny Andrews’ Two Women with Two Children (1971) and Nan Goldin’s Bruce’s mirror. Portland, Maine (1996) offer alternative definitions of “family.” Other images, particularly Malcolm Morley’s Beach Scene (1969) and David Haas’ more recent Carousel, Copenhagen (2019) celebrate moments of shared pleasure, while early twentieth-century artists Jean Charlot and Marion Post Wolcott highlighted families working together for the common good. The separateness and alienation that can result from unhealthy ties or from a lack of connection are apparent in Vibeke Tandberg’s and Nikki Lee’s photographs, Living Together #6 (1996) and Part (37) (2002), as well as Charlie Roberts’ drawing, Possible Heads (2010).

As we navigate through the upheavals of 2020, Ties that Bind offers some opportunities to think about how we live, love, and relate to one another during these challenging times and conditions.

The exhibition is organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

Image: Nikki S. Lee, Part (37), 2002 (detail). Dye coupler print mounted on aluminum, 29 ⅞ x 22 ⅞ in. Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Leslie Tonkonow, 2009.21. © Nikki S. Lee

About the Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro acquires, preserves, exhibits, and interprets modern and contemporary art for the benefit of its multiple audiences, including university, community, regional, and beyond. Through these activities, the museum recognizes its paramount role of public service, and enriches the lives of diverse individuals by fostering an informed appreciation and understanding of the visual arts and their relationship to the world in which we live.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro was founded by Gregory Ivy in 1941 and is the earliest of any art facilities within the UNC system. The museum was founded as a resource for the campus, community, and region and its early leadership developed an emphasis—maintained to this day—on presenting and acquiring modern and contemporary works of art. A 1950 bequest from the renowned collection of Claribel and Etta Cone, which included prints and bronzes by Henri Matisse and other works on paper by American and European modernists, helped to establish the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection. Other prescient acquisitions during Ivy’s tenure included a 1951 suspended mobile by Alexander Calder, Woman by Willem de Kooning, a pivotal work in the artist’s career that was purchased in 1954, and the first drawings by Eva Hesse and Robert Smithson to enter a museum collection.

In 1989, the museum moved into its present location in The Anne and Benjamin Cone Building designed by the architectural firm Mitchell/Giurgola. The museum has six galleries and a sculpture courtyard with over 17,000 square feet of exhibition space. The American Association of Museums accredited the Weatherspoon in 1995 and renewed its accreditation in 2005.

Collections + Exhibitions
The permanent collection of the Weatherspoon Art Museum is considered to be one of the foremost of its kind in the Southeast. It represents all major art movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Of the nearly 7,000 works in the collection are pieces by such prominent figures as Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Cindy Sherman, Al Held, Alex Katz, Henry Tanner, Louise Nevelson, Mark di Suvero, Deborah Butterfield, and Robert Rauschenberg. The museum regularly lends to major exhibitions nationally and internationally.

The Weatherspoon also is known for its adventurous and innovative exhibition program. Through a dynamic annual calendar of fifteen to eighteen exhibitions and a multi-disciplinary educational program for audiences of all ages, the museum provides an opportunity for audiences to consider artistic, cultural, and social issues of our time and enriches the life of our university, community, and region.

UNC Greensboro
UNC Greensboro, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is 1 of only 50 doctoral institutions recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for both higher research activity and community engagement. Founded in 1891 and one of the original three UNC system institutions, UNC Greensboro is one of the most diverse universities in the state with 20,000+ students, and 2,700+ faculty and staff members representing 90+ nationalities. With 17 Division I athletic teams, 85 undergraduate degrees in over 125 areas of study, as well as 74 master’s and 32 doctoral programs, UNC Greensboro is consistently recognized nationally among the top universities for academic excellence and value, with noted strengths in health and wellness, visual and performing arts, nursing, education, and more. For additional information, please visit uncg.edu and follow UNCG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Weatherspoon Art Museum
UNC Greensboro
Spring Garden and Tate Streets, PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, (336) 334-5770, weatherspoon@uncg.edu

For more information or press images, contact:
Loring Mortensen, (336) 256-1451, lamorten@uncg.edu

Free Admission + Free Parking

Tue-Wed-Fri-Sat: 10am-5pm
Thu: 10am-8pm
Closed Sundays, Mondays + holidays

Weatherspoon Art Museum
UNC Greensboro
500 Tate Street
Greensboro, NC 27402
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