Replacement objects in "Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women" at the North Carolina Museum of Art

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Replacement objects in "Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women" at the North Carolina Museum of Art
Due to travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the couriers from the Smithsonian Museum of African Art were unable to attend to install more than 20 objects. The museum didn't think the show was complete without them, so the exhibition designers and manager of interpretation came up with an innovative solution. They printed life-size versions of the objects on resin and installed them in their cases, exactly like they were the objects. A nearby QR code is available for visitors to scan to see the real object and learn more.

RALEIGH, NC.- The North Carolina Museum of Art has opened and extended two new special exhibitions that were originally planned for spring: Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women and Leonardo Drew: Making Chaos Legible are on view through January 3, 2021. The two join previously opened exhibitions Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting and Christopher Holt: Contemporary Frescoes/Faith and Community. With creative adjustments to the challenges of the pandemic, including reproductions of works that couldn’t be installed made accessible through QR codes and virtual exhibition options, visitors can now enjoy this trip around the world through art in person and online.

Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women, with more than 150 objects, is the first major exhibition of Senegalese gold jewelry that focuses on the history of Senegal’s gold, from past to present, and the beauty and complexity of the way Senegalese women use ornament and fashion to present themselves. A key theme of the exhibition is the Senegalese concept of sañse (a Wolof word for dressing up or looking and feeling good). Good as Gold explores how a woman in a city like Dakar might use a piece of gold jewelry to build a carefully tailored, elegant fashion ensemble.

Leonardo Drew: Making Chaos Legible is the second part of a two-part project by contemporary artist Leonardo Drew. The monumental outdoor sculpture City in the Grass was on view in the Museum Park February 1–September 7, and now a solo gallery exhibition is open, providing an in-depth look at Drew’s diverse body of work. Using a variety of materials—wood, cotton, canvas, paper, steel, aluminum, sand—Drew creates dynamic sculptures and installations that explode and expand into their spaces. These gravity-defying artworks convey a feeling of barely contained or restrained energy and chaos.

“We are so grateful that Good as Gold and Making Chaos Legible could be installed and are now on view,” said Museum Director Valerie Hillings. “While the pandemic certainly posed a challenge to the process, we were able to overcome it with innovative, technology-driven solutions, and our visitors can now safely explore these exhibitions.”
The exhibitions were ready for installation shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic required the NCMA to close its galleries in March. With safety precautions in place, the Museum’s art handlers, exhibition designers, and curators were able to continue working on the exhibitions, even though travel restrictions prevented couriers from the Smithsonian Museum of African Art from installing more than 20 objects in Good as Gold.

Exhibition designer Molly Trask-Price, along with manager of interpretation Felicia Ingram, came up with a unique solution, creating life-size reproductions of the missing works printed on resin. Noticeable by their purple hue, the reproductions are installed in the cases alongside the gold pieces. Visitors can scan a QR code to learn more about each item and are greeted with a video explanation as they enter the exhibition.
The installation of Making Chaos Legible was also adjusted, as artist Leonardo Drew was unable to travel from New York. With video calls and a monitor on wheels, Drew was able to remotely oversee the installation and work with NCMA staff to ensure his vision for the site-specific pieces was accomplished.

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