Time for a Walk

It’s an exciting season in the Museum Park. While the beautiful spring weather is a sufficient reason for a walk on the trails, we’ve also got other reasons to celebrate: the grand opening of our new Blue Loop trail and new art as part of our exhibition 0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art.

Two new installations may be spotted by sharp-eyed trekkers. First are three images by Maryland-based artist Dan Bailey for our popular Park Pictures series. As you may remember, our Pictures are three “billboards” installed along the paved walking trails, commissioned by the Museum and changing regularly, to encourage visitors to explore the art in the Park. For his images, as well as for his indoor mural in 0 to 60, Bailey chronicled the human activity on the NCMA campus over several months. He rigged a low-altitude weather balloon with a camera set to take a photograph of the grounds below every few seconds. The artist visited multiple times in the past year, capturing shadows, seasonal differences, and other time shifts. The final product is a digital collage combined with satellite photographs of the Museum grounds. It is a fascinating compression of a particular place at various points in time, joined into one single image.

A second installation is Tom Shields’s Forest for the Chairs, in which the artist literally brings his materials—found and discarded furniture, particularly wooden chairs—back to their source. By attaching the chairs to trees in the Park, he accepts that time and weather will affect their appearance and eventual stability. The bio-degradation of the chairs, part of Shields’s plan, is the final step in the lives of these chairs. Once functional and decorative, these seats are now simply memories, or imitations, of their former selves. Time rules here: its passage will determine the length of the art’s life.

0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art remains on view through August 11. Bailey’s billboards are on view through the fall, and Shields’s installation will be with us for the foreseeable future.

These works, made possible by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, are part of an ongoing series of outdoor art projects, Art Has No Boundaries, commissioned by the NCMA to encourage visitors to actively explore the Museum Park.

Image: Tom Shields, Forest for the Chairs, 2013, found chairs, dimensions variable

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