Home > Reviews > Rockwell Exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art 2011

Rockwell Exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art 2011

Miss Hunt and I visited the NC Museum of Art yesterday to view the current Norman Rockwell exhibit. We are members so we get the first visit tickets for no cost. This turned out to be a good thing as far as I was concerned.

This exhibit follows a number of exhibitions at NCMA such as the Monet exhibit several years ago. They usually have a big exhibit about once a year. This is the first year where members don’t get unlimited access to the special event exhibits. That policy was changed and I can see that it would be a hit to the funding. The memberships are very reasonable and one free visit is most I would do for most of the exhibits.

The Rockwell exhibit is a large one. It starts with a number of paintings in several rooms that were excellent. The crowd was something of a problem in those rooms though so I tend to go where the crowd isn’t to view the paintings. The folks with headphones are annoying and in their own worlds so they can get in the way. Some were a little rude in just jumping in front of you. Most of these were the older folks surprisingly. We figured that 3pm on Friday afternoon would be less crowded so my annoyance probably had a lot to do with calculating incorrectly when to attend.

After the front rooms of paintings, there was a constriction in the walkways were they were looping a large video describing his life and work. This was an unfortunate placement since many people got in the way and you had to scoot around the outside trying not to get in the way of people standing and viewing the video. Basically, they placed the video viewing area in the hallway which did not work.

Behind the video area, there was a large room with all the covers Rockwell did for the Saturday Evening Post. This was mobbed which was okay since I didn’t have a lot of interest in these illustrations. There were several larger paintings of the cover art which were the best things in the room. Not surprisingly, this room seemed to be the most interesting to those in attendance. The older people who would have remembered the covers from their childhood seemed to be riveted. This was great as it must have brought back many pleasant memories for them.

After fighting my way through the video crowd again, I got to the other back room where there were a number of other illustrations. The most memorable were those of JFK and Ike and some of the works he did for the original Peace Corp. After that was a room showing the methods he used in doing an illustration he did of the civil rights movement. It is weird today to realize that black people could not be shown on a cover except as servants back then.

The working drawings and photos in the last room were interesting to show method and procedure, but I thought it was a poor choice for a high end exhibition. There is a question on whether an exhibit such as this should have concentrated on illustrations rather than artwork. I would have expected that at the NC Museum of History, but it took me by surprise at the NCMA.

The North Carolina Museum of Art is definitely worth going to for the amazing content of the galleries which are all free to view. It is an amazing value to people who are interested in art in general. The Rodin gardens are great. The outdoors park is great. I love the place and appreciate all that people do to make it available. I just didn’t much care for the Rockwell exhibit. I am glad I didn’t have to pay the $15 ticket price. I would have been very annoyed on leaving it. YMMV

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