With Testing Testing, the Ackland Art Museum highlights ways in which art made since 1960 has tested possibilities both within and beyond conventional boundaries of art-making. Through experimentation, innovation, and skill, artists have assessed the potential not only of new materials in new combinations, but also of traditional modes such as figuration and abstraction.
The largest presentation of the Ackland’s relatively unknown collection of modern painting and sculpture to date, the exhibition includes works by approximately 50 artists, including José Bedia, Sanford Biggers, Anthony Caro, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Thornton Dial, Barkley Hendricks, Rachel Howard, Annette Lemieux, Al Held, Hung Liu, Takashi Murakami, Kenneth Noland, Richard Nonas, Jules Olitski, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Philip Pearlstein, Ken Price, Sean Scully, George Segal, Yinka Shonibare, Lorna Simpson, Do-Ho Suh, Stella Waitzkin, John Wesley, H.C. Westermann, and others.
Rather than offering a historical survey of developments, Testing Testing will present stimulating and evocative groupings, crossing cultures and chronologies. The bringing together of signature works, several important new acquisitions, and some surprises from storage affords the Museum the opportunity to test what a large-scale, long-term installation of modern and contemporary art at the Ackland might look like. Visitors are in turn invited to test their curiosity, imaginations, and responses when encountering an astonishingly diverse array of powerful, beautiful, puzzling, and liberating work.
This exhibition and its accompanying programming are made possible by the generous support of The John and Mary P. Redwine Charitable Trust, James Keith (JK) Brown and Eric Diefenbach, The Seymour and Carol Levin Foundation, WUNC 91.5 – North Carolina Public Radio, and Zog’s Art Bar.
Image: Hung Liu, American, born in China, born 1948: Peaches, 2002; oil on canvas. Ackland Fund, 2002.7. © 2002 Hung Liu.
Resources in this section deal mainly with the popular styles, important movements, and influential exhibitions in art since 1960 that help shape the objects in Testing Testing.
One of the great things about working with contemporary art like that in Testing Testing is that the artists are often still living. Along with the usual information sources like books and articles, many of them also have a rich online presence. Most interestingly, this presence often includes video interviews produced by museums and galleries that provide us with insights into the mind of the artist through their own words.
This interview from the Yale Center for British Art was recorded for their 2012 exhibition Caro: Close Up. It focuses on discussing Caro’s smaller scale works like the two included in our exhibition.
In this very short video, Heffernan talks about her artistic goals in reference to her later work, but it applies well to Self-Portrait as a Dirty Princess which is featured in Testing Testing.
A great video produced by the Nasher Museum of Art for their 2008 exhibition of Hendricks’s work. It includes clips of the artist talking about selecting his models, and a model talking about her experience posing for him.
A full-length documentary following the Houser family history and putting Allan’s artwork in the context of a much larger, multi-generational narrative.
This video presents the artist’s biography, artistic process, and motivation for painting in her own words. The Ackland’s Peaches is a part of the series highlighted in this film.
A fascinating period interview that covers Noland’s early career up to his first retrospective.
This video from the Tate takes us on a guided tour through Oursler’s studio in NYC to learn about what inspires him. Be aware, this video includes adult language.
An extremely long lecture on the importance of artwork of Nam June Paik to the development of contemporary art. Unfortunately, the audio quality is not especially high.
A short introduction to Shonibare follows the artist as he oversees a large installation of his work.