Charlotte first stop for American tour of London museum exhibit ‘Nature Morte’

Charlotte first stop for American tour of London museum exhibit ‘Nature Morte’
Wednesday, September 14, 2022

UNC Charlotte is the first American host for a stunning exhibition developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art in London.

“Nature Morte:  Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still Life Tradition” opens Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Rowe Galleries. The exhibit is based on chief curator Michael Petry’s book of the same name, which brings together for the first time the poignant, provocative re-imaginings of the traditional still life by more than 180 international contemporary artists, including David Hockney, John Currin, Sherrie Levine, Reena Saini Kallat, Damien Hirst, Gerhard Richter and Ai Wei.

Both the book and the exhibit explore the timeless themes of life, death and the irrevocable passing of time in works that invite people to pause and reconsider what it means to be human. 

On Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. in Rowe Arts Building, Petry and co-curator Roberto Ekholm of MOCA London will join University curators Adam Justice and Andrew Leventis for a public conversation about the still life in contemporary imagination, followed by a reception. The exhibition runs through Thursday, Nov. 3.

Among the largest exhibits for Rowe Galleries

Rowe Galleries and the University’s Department of Art and Art History are the first American hosts for “Nature Morte,” which seeks to illustrate how leading artists of the 21st century have reinvigorated still life, a genre strongly identified with the 16th and 17th centuries.

This major exhibition will be one of the largest ever presented at the Rowe Galleries and will include a visually enticing selection of more than 100 artworks. National and international artists being featured are Gabriel Orozco, Wayne Thiebaud, Jennifer Steinkamp and Donald Sultan to name a few, alongside works by local artists such as MyLoan Dinh, Linda Foard Roberts and Andrew Leventis.

Charlotte is the first stop on a proposed American tour, after the exhibit’s lauded European tour that included London’s Guildhall and the Museum of Contemporary Art at the newly modernized 1913 Four Dome Pavilion in Wroclaw, Poland.

In each venue, historic works have been borrowed from local museums to complement those that form the spine of the exhibition coming from London. In Charlotte, University curators Justice and Leventis are adding historical and contemporary works from local sources and from artists nationwide. 

What is nature morte?

The still life, or nature morte, has been a constant subject throughout the history of art, its significance changing over time. As an independent genre of painting, the still life came into its own in the mid-17th century, when the Flemish term stilleven first came to be applied to oil paintings characterized by their tight focus on an assortment of objects sitting on a flat surface.

Viewers to the exhibition at Rowe Galleries will be confronted with the questions, what is real and what is representative. While the traditional topics of still-life — flora, fauna, the domestic object, food and vanitas — are represented, the works come from a wide range of disciplines, going beyond the two-dimensional to include sculpture, digital and sound.

Read the complete story, which includes a listing of all artists, on the College of Arts + Architecture website.