I finally got over to the newly re-opened Gregg Museum of Art at NC State. The collection on display is nicely diverse, it even kept the kids engaged while we were there. The building itself, as all good museum buildings should be, is at once beautiful and understated enough to let the artwork shine. The scale inside and out is perfectly comfortable and approachable and feels insulated from the hustle and bustle just beyond on campus.
The space itself is relatively modest, but has been arranged in a way that allows the curation of the exhibits to fully tell their story without feeling crowded. The “Show and Tell” exhibition (on until Dec. 30, 2017) is a delightful cross-section of the museum’s permanent collection. It has a broad representation of diverse media as well as cultural and stylistic depth. The pieces range from functional classic designs from the likes of Charles and Ray Eames to primitive folk art to traditional textile works from a variety of countries. The Gregg is also offering a companion catalog of a larger selection of the permanent collection that demonstrates the collection’s depth and breadth. Anyone who enjoys the collection on display will find this an enjoyable read.
The second exhibition on display “A Door is Not a Window” By painter Herb Jackson is presented in an unusual way that greatly enhances the experience of these paintings. The room is completely unlit except for precision spotlighting on the large canvases. The paintings themselves have a shimmering iridescent quality that is highlighted by this dramatic lighting. Not only does the light give life to the sparkling paint finish, it also serves to make the colors feel more vibrant and saturated. Were the paintings hung in a traditional way in a brightly-lit room on a white wall, they wouldn’t have nearly the presence they command in this display. It is almost like viewing a theater production and the effect is quite magical.
The highlight of final exhibit, “Treasures of Native America” was the juxtaposition of the Southwestern Native American artifacts with those of the Pacific Northwest. It was a nice way to compare and contrast their stylistic motifs and materials. My favorite selections from this exhibit were the Pacific Northwest carved wooden masks and the colorful Hopi Indian collection of dolls.
If you haven’t been to the new Gregg yet, I highly recommend you make the trip. It is a delightful collection in an intimate and serene setting. With the broad range of objects on display, there is sure to be plenty for everyone to love.