Please note: West Building is now closed through October 7, 2022, to complete an exciting reinstallation of the People’s Collection. During this time enjoy free exhibitions on view in East Building, indoor and outdoor events and programming, and the 164-acre Museum Park. We’re excited to welcome visitors back to a new Museum experience starting October 8, 2022. Learn more about this project.


Outlandish: Photographs by Ralph Burns | Photographs from Allen G. Thomas Jr.

August 20, 2022–February 12, 2023
East Building, Level B, Video Gallery, Photography Gallery 1 (Julian T. Baker Jr. Gallery) and 2 (Allen G. Thomas Jr. Gallery)

Using photography from the Museum’s collection, this exhibition examines the peculiarity of human experience and expression. In one gallery a photo series by Asheville-based photographer Ralph Burns captures the intricacies of worship, ritual, and love. For decades he followed crowds of devout Elvis fans during their pilgrimages to Graceland. Burns’s documentarian style demonstrates a deep understanding of humanness and emotional connection.

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In the other gallery, North Carolina native and avid collector Allen G. Thomas Jr. considers the eccentricity and intrigue associated with contemporary photography. His varied selection of portraits, abstract scenes, and other stylized photographs offers another fascinating examination of the characteristics that connect us as people. Ultimately, this exhibition questions the emotions we project onto the subjects of the photographs, confronting our implicit judgments of each other and what we deem unusual.

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

Kerry Skarbakka, Reflected, 2003, chromogenic print, 24 × 20 in., Gift of Allen G. Thomas Jr. in honor of Lawrence J. Wheeler, © 2022 Kerry Skarbakka

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