(336) 334-5770

Exhibition Announcement:

Making Room: Familiar Art, New Stories


The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro is pleased to announce the opening of Making Room: Familiar Art, New Stories (June 2, 2023 - Spring 2024), an installation drawn from the museum’s nationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art. The installation serves as a critical point on a course of learning to which the Weatherspoon staff has dedicated themselves for the past year and a half. With support from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation, they have sought to understand how they can better engage museum participants to share fuller and more inclusive stories of American art. The artworks on display were chosen in response to what more than 4,000 community members said they care about.

These visitor responses—which ranged from poems to doodles to personal statements—were gathered in multiple ways. Within temporary interactive spaces designated as Inquiry Hubs, the museum’s visitor engagement team coordinated pop-up performances and facilitated collection-based inquiry and play. One sentiment heard repeatedly was that the act of caring requires doing. As one museum visitor wrote, “I show my family I am there for them through actions.” The Weatherspoon therefore organized this installation around the broad theme of caring—of being there and doing things—across four rooms dedicated to the following categories: FAMILY, COMMUNITY, PLACE, and MEMORY.

Weatherspoon staff also focused on how the museum’s own learning and growth could be made visible in this installation. After listening to faculty in UNC Greensboro’s School of Art talk about their desire for more examples of performance art to support their teaching in this field, the museum acquired photographs of community performances by artists Dread Scott and Lorraine O’Grady, which feature in the COMMUNITY and PLACE rooms, respectively. Staff also reviewed the physical needs of objects in the collection and sent a number to conservators for expert care. Among them was an iconic light-based sculpture, Clavero (1968) by artist Tom Lloyd, which received specialized electronic repairs. It now shines a light on issues of social justice in the MEMORY room. Perhaps most frequent among visitor responses were statements about the importance and complexity of the networks of parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends that one calls FAMILY. The room dedicated to this theme features a diverse array of images ranging from Nan Goldin’s documentation of treasured snapshots to Robert Colescott’s loaded painting of family secrets.

“This fresh reflection on the Weatherspoon’s collection reveals how works of art not only catalyze dialogue but also inform conversations about who we are—as an organization, as a community, and as individuals,” said Juliette Bianco, the museum’s Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Director. “The Weatherspoon staff hope that when you visit Making Room, you are as inspired as we are by the possibility of art to help us shape new stories about who we are and why that matters.”

Another word that museum staff encountered repeatedly while reading visitor responses was “connect,” and those who visit and participate in Making Room will find it a place to connect with themselves, with works of art both familiar and new, and with family and community. The installation is at once the culmination of a project and a waystation on the museum’s ongoing journey of learning by doing.

Making Room: Familiar Art, New Stories is made possible through grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Image: María Berrío, Aminata Linnaea, 2013. Mixed media on canvas, 80 x 96 in. Weatherspoon Art Museum, UNC Greensboro. Purchase with funds from the Weatherspoon Art Museum Acquisition Endowment for the Dillard Collection; 2017.16. © María Berrío
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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