Fall 2022 Billboards: Ralph Burns

September 2022—March 2023
Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park

Fall 2022 Billboards: Ralph Burns surveys the artist’s distinguished black-and-white documentarian style. These photographs capture the intricacies of worship, ritual, and love through an impartial lens.

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As Burns states, he uses his camera as a tool “to try to understand.” In one photo a penitent in Mexico carries the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In another a woman writhes with emotional intensity as she is baptized in the Jordan River in Israel. A third photo depicts a young boy emulating Elvis during a pilgrimage to Graceland. Together, these images serve as glimpses into a connected experience of religiosity and adoration.

This selection of photographs accompanies a larger exhibition of the artist’s How Great Thou Art series in Outlandish: Photographs by Ralph Burns from the Collection of Hedy Fischer and Randy Shull/Photographs from the Collection of Allen G. Thomas Jr, on view in East Building from August 20, 2022 to February 12, 2023.

Courtesy of the artist and made possible by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina as 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.

Ralph Burns, Baptism # 1, Jordan River, Israel, 1996, gelatin silver print; © 2022 Ralph Burns, Courtesy of the artist

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