A Special Surprise Exhibit for 60 Years of Ackland Art

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Etel Adnan, Lebanese-American, born 1925: Untitled (detail), 2017; oil on canvas: 21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (55 x 46 cm). Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Promised Gift of John and Marree Townsend in honor of the Museum’s 60th Anniversary. 
Copyright of the Artist; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

All are invited to the Ackland Art Museum on September 20 to kick off their 60th anniversary with the grand opening of “Birthday Presents,” an exhibition curated for the occasion. Around 60 pieces of art from 30 supporters of the museum, including 13 UNC alumni, make up the commemorative collection. Featured works include African and Asian art; European and American prints, drawings and photographs; and modern and contemporary art, adding depth to existing areas of the museum and offering a glimpse into what future collections will display.

In addition to “Birthday Presents,” the yearlong celebration “will be filled with extraordinary exhibitions from our permanent collection and across the country [along with] re-imaginings of our gallery space,” says Katie Ziglar, director of the Ackland. Also opening on September 20 is the “RedBall Project,” a traveling work of art by American artist Kurt Perschke. Over the course of the following week, a giant red ball will appear in places across UNC’s campus and around town. Chapel Hillians can engage with the piece by sharing photos using #RedBallProject and #RedBallChapelHill. And these are only the start of what the Ackland has planned for its milestone birthday.

Since 1958, the Ackland has stood at the intersection of UNC’s campus and the Chapel Hill community. By offering experiences that inspire UNC students, faculty and staff as well as the surrounding community to look closely and think broadly, the museum promotes art as a medium to foster interconnectedness. Sixty years to the day that it was dedicated, the Ackland hopes to share its new collection with students, community members and the next generation who will appreciate the storehouse of art and history for years to come.

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Julia Baker

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