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Asheville Art Museum looks forward - and back

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1/20/2012 - Asheville Art Museum looks forward - and back
by Carol Motsinger - Asheville Citizen Times

 Recent additions to the Asheville Art Museum highlight past artistic accomplishments -- and provide a brand-new space for future feats.

 The museum in Pack Place recently announced the acquisition of 12 new works for the museum's permanent collection by the Collectors' Circle. And at 7 p.m. Thursday, the New Media Gallery, which will be part of the nonprofit's temporary expansion in Pack Place, will be celebrated with a preview party, Ready for Prime Time, at CityMac and Village Antiques in Biltmore Village.

The New Media Gallery, which focuses on video, new media installation and creative use of computers and communication technology, will be the first of its kind in Western North Carolina, said adult programs manager Nancy Sokolove.

"I think people are going to be really inspired," Sokolove said of the 26 artists who submitted work for the show. "We have such an incredible artistic community. ... The preview party is really a celebration of everyone who submitted work and all of the various techniques that they individually work with and their artistic visions."

Last fall, the museum invited submissions from North Carolina artists working with screen-based, new media artwork, such as video art, experimental animation and time-based media for the inaugural exhibition of the New Media Gallery. One work by each submitting artist will be screened during Ready for Prime Time.

"(New Media) is probably the single most important development in the visual arts," Sokolove said.

The New Media Gallery is scheduled to open in March in the former location of The Health Adventure, which moved to Biltmore Square Mall in the fall.

It will be part of the museum's temporary expansion project, called Art WORKS Primed, and is designed to take advantage of the space available now in Pack Place as the organization's leaders continue to raise money for the permanent expansion.

"We really want to be able to showcase new art, really contemporary work," said Sokolove. "The expansion has given us a number of spaces to do that finally."

She said she hopes that preview party attendees "will come away with eyes opened and be able to expand their understanding of what can be and also see the Asheville Art Museum as a home for cutting-edge art."

While looking toward the future of art, the museum also continues to expand its collection of 20th- and 21st-century American art. The Collectors' Circle, created in 2003, make annual purchases for the museum.

"They've been a hugely important support group since their inception," said Pam Myers, executive director of the museum, noting the group and its individual members have been involved in the purchase and partial purchase of 73 works.

Highlights from the 2011 acquisitions include:

A work by contemporary photographer David Levinthal, "Untitled from the series Barbie (#77)," 1998, Polaroid Polacolor ER Land Film. Levinthal has produced a diverse body of work, utilizing primarily large-format Polaroid photography. While his photographs touch upon many aspects of American culture, he is perhaps best-known for his Barbie portraits.

Two works by master printer, painter, sculptor and teacher Sue Fuller; "Civilization," 1952, charcoal drawing, 25 by 19 inches, and "Catch Me a Planet," 1952, intaglio. Fuller studied with artists Hans Hofmann and Josef Albers, as well as with abstract expressionist Stanley W. Hayter at his studio in New York, Atelier 17.

Three midcentury works by Maltby Sykes (1911-92), a prominent American painter, draftsman, lithographer, engraver and teacher. Sykes was most noted for his printmaking; work purchased include: "Fireworks," circa 1955, color lithograph, "Caterpillar," 1964, sepia engraving and mezzotint and "Square at Guanajuata," 1948, lithograph.

Other works include two works by ninth-generation Cherokee potter Joel Queen; two works by Peter Grippe (1912-2002), a former Black Mountain College instructor; and two works by Peggy Bacon (1895-1987), a member of Students League of New York whose work appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker.

IF YOU GO

What: Ready for Prime Time, a preview party for "Prime Time: New Media Juried Exhibition" at the Asheville Art Museum.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday.
Where: CityMac and Village Antiques, 755 Biltmore Ave.
Admission: $5 donation suggested.
Learn more:
www.ashevilleart.org/; 253-3227.

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