In the 21st century, contemporary art has become a truly global, cross-cultural dialogue, and artists are employing a variety of media to express their ideas. With recent acquisitions a concerted effort has been made to acquire works in new and experimental media, such as Bill Viola’s video The Quintet of Remembrance (2000) and Michal Rovner’s video installation Tfila (2004). Jennifer Steinkamp’s video Mike Kelley (2007), and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s The Year’s Midnight (2011).
Cultural and regional representation has also been expanded, with the Museum actively acquiring works by artists of diverse backgrounds, including José Bedia, iona rozeal brown, Lalla Essaydi, Maria Elena González, Sangbin Im, Hayv Kahraman, Seydou Keïta, Mustafa Maluka, Mario Cravo Neto, Angel Otero, Alison Saar, and Yinka Shonibare, MBE. In 2003 the Museum started actively collecting contemporary photography, and the collection now includes well over 400 photographs by nationally and internationally known photographers, including works by Matthew Brandt, Pieter Hugo, Rosemary Laing, Dinh Q. Lê, Vera Lutter, Andrew Moore, Richard Mosse, Jackie Nickerson, Alex Prager, Lorna Simpson, and Hank Willis Thomas.
The collection includes a comprehensive survey of North Carolina artists. Highlights of the North Carolina collection include George Bireline’s abstract painting Matisse Window (1964), Maud Gatewood’s expressively painted landscape Jungle Camp (2000), Bob Trotman’s figurative sculpture Girl (2002), Beverly McIver’s triptych self-portrait Reminiscing (2005), Anne Lemanski’s portrait of a gorilla Senkwekwe (2009), and Damian Stamer’s abstracted landscape South Lowell 18 (2014). Recent acquisitions have concentrated on contemporary photography, and to date the Museum has acquired 166 photographs by 23 North Carolina photographers.
The Museum’s contemporary art program extends into the landscape surrounding the Museum, where artists are invited to create both temporary and permanent site-specific works of art in the Museum Park. Currently on view in the Park are permanent works by Yinka Shonibare, Thomas Sayre, Vollis Simpson, Chris Drury, and Martha Jackson-Jarvis. The NCMA’s other permanent outdoor sculptures—Ronald Bladen’s Three Elements, Henry Moore’s Large Spindle Piece and Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge, Roxy Paine’s Askew, and Ursula Von Rydingsvard’s Ogromna are installed in the gardens surrounding the gallery building. Picture This, the Museum’s amphitheater, is a monumental work of art designed by artist Barbara Kruger in collaboration with architects and landscape architects.
West Building houses a significant portion of the modern and contemporary collection, featuring numerous gifts and recent commissions, including highlights from a major gift to the Museum, the Jim and Mary Patton Collection, featuring works by Sean Scully, Ellsworth Kelly, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, and many other masters of 20th-century art. In addition to special exhibition galleries, the Museum’s East Building houses galleries dedicated to video and new media art, photography, artists’ projects, and North Carolina artists.