Art Exhibits to Visit

The North Carolina Museum of History is currently featuring an artist, Ernie Barnes, who had roots in Durham. His artistic style inspired many generations after him, and the exhibit displays his popular works along with unpublished sketches (Photo courtesy of Marie Cox).

Title: John James Audubon’s The Birds of America

Dates: Ongoing

Location: North Carolina Museum of Art

John James Audubon is famous for his influential studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats.

This exhibition features an alcove with a projected film of Audubon’s drawn birds in their natural habitats. Outside of the alcove, different books full of his original depictions of birds are on display along with other videos about the artist’s life.

Audubon portrayed all his birds as life-like as possible on the page, explaining why larger birds are folded in distorted positions to fit on the pages in the collection. All his birds have a life-like anatomy and sense of motion, as well as an accurately portrayed environment and diet.

Title: Sayler/Morris: Their World Is Not Our World

Dates: February 16, 2019- July 7, 2019

Location: North Carolina Museum of Art, East Building, Level B

The Sayler/Morris exhibition is a video exhibit diving into the complex relationship between humans and animals. The video runs for about 10 minutes across three large walls in the main lobby of Level B. Their World Is Not Our World is narrated by Edward Morris in a documentary-esque manner.

The video all takes place in the Netherlands on a man-made nature reserve, the Oostvaardersplassen. Throughout the video the narrator refers to his crush, the one in charge of the trip, as “she”. He tracks the history of the reserve, and with it the history of human fascination with ancient animals, in a rambling and smitten manner.

The exhibit does include images of animals that some viewers may find highly disturbing (i.e, starvation, death). Overall, the exhibit comments on human’s anthropomorphization of animals and their need to relive the past.

Title: The North Carolina Roots of Artist Ernie Barnes

Dates: June 29, 2018, through May 27, 2019

Artist Ernie Barnes was born and raised in Durham and attended NC Central University with a full football scholarship. Despite playing in the NFL, Barnes never stopped painting and sketching.

This exhibit features collections of his paintings, unpublished works, and sketches. Along the walk through the exhibit, there are various pictures of Barnes, posters, some of his personal articles, and facts about his life. At the end of the exhibit is a video chronicling his life narrated by an old friend.

His style was unique: always painting people full of elongation and movement. He almost always painted people with their eyes closed because “we don’t see each other, we are blind to each other’s humanity.” This exhibit highlights his artistic style and the impact it has had on the world of visual arts.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.