North Carolina Museum of Art Park to Welcome New Outdoor Sculptures
“I’d like to show you a special place,” my friend told me some years ago, when we were planning a play date with our children.
That was my introduction to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park in Raleigh. We spent the day with our sons, following a trail that took us to a whisper bench by Jim Gallucci, and past gigantic reclining legs by Ledelle Moe and an enormous whirligig by Vollis Simpson into the cool woods, where we entered a dome-shaped shelter by Chris Drury that was actually a pinhole camera. We felt like Alice in Wonderland, viewing the world from different perspectives and it was exciting. Our children reveled in the freedom of being outdoors and playing in and around art, instead of being told not to touch things.
Since that day, I’ve returned again and again to show visitors this unusual space that welcomes walkers, bicyclists, joggers, and art and nature lovers. So when I heard that new sculptures were coming to the 164-acre park, I couldn't wait to find out what creations were on their way.
Hank Willis Thomas, Ernest and Ruth, 2015, steel plate and pipe, H. 83 x W. 96 x D. 48 in., Gift of Pat and Tom Gipson, Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; photographer: James Ewing
Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY
According to a press release from the North Carolina Museum of Art, three new works of art will be installed in the park. They include a bronze tree by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone on loan for a year, a playful pair of benches designed by Hank Willis Thomas that will be permanent fixtures, and a visiting installation of 23-foot-tall illuminated rabbits by Australian artist Amanda Parer that will run for 10 days.
Giant rabbits? I can’t wait to see them, and I suspect children will like them, too.
The park is also being redesigned to include a tree-lined parking area, contemporary gardens, a promenade connecting the park and galleries and an elliptical lawn. While construction is underway to create these area, parts of the trails are temporarily closed.
If you're interested in seeing the new sculptures and redesigned areas, plan to be at the park at 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, when the museum is inviting the public to see them at its free "Park Celebration" that will also feature a variety of outdoor activities.
Giuseppe Penone, Ideas of Stone–Elm, 2008, bronze and river stones, H. 315 x W. 157 ½ D. x 98 3/8 in. On loan courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery,New York, Paris, and London. The installation of Ideas of Stone–Elm at the North Carolina Museum of Art is made possible by the generous support of Carol and Rick McNeel.
Photo courtesy of Malcolm Varon