Imagine being able to release your inner curator and have a say in what pieces of art are included in the Weatherspoon’s distinguished collection. If the sound of that strikes your fancy, you may want to look into taking part in next year’s annual benefactor’s choice.
Each year for the past 16 years the Weatherspoon holds an event for the patrons that keep the museum and art program at UNCG thriving. The event allows contributors to vote between three contemporary artists work to decide which will be included in the museums assemblage of fine art.
In the past the Benefactors Choice voters have chosen works from Willie Cole with the piece “Wind Mask”, Joseph Cornell with the piece “Untitled”. Also Amy Sillman’s “Untitled (yellow w/ a bird)”, Jasper Johns “Untitled (red/yellow/blue), Tara Donovan’s “Bluffs” and Nancy Rubins “Drawing”.
For this year’s annual benefactor’s choice, they chose from three artists, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Moyer and Jaume Plensa. The crowd gathered in the auditorium and the lights were dimmed as the art works were shown on a projector. The benefactors and patrons sipped on their refreshments as they watched.
The first artist Hank Willis Thomas, he specializes in concept photos that deal with the themes of identity, history and pop culture. His works have been shown throughout the US and across the world including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Musee du Quai Branly in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Thomas got his BFA in Photography and Africana Studies from New York University, and earned his MFA in Photography and Visual Criticism from California College of Arts.
The piece that was being optioned from his works was titled “Branded Head”. It explores the brands that young African American’s deal with today. His photo was that of a young African American’s head with the Nike logo branded into it. The piece itself, while simplistic, speaks to a very deep meaning on several levels that could keep a group of intellectuals talking for hours.
Jaume Plensa is a Spanish artist and sculptor. His first exhibition was in 1980 in Barcelona. He has worked in Europe, Asia and the United States. He is currently a teacher École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and is a guest professor at the School of Art Institute in Chicago. Plensa has had his exhibition works range from small and indoors to small and outdoors, also occasionally designing sets for operas.
Carrie Moyer is a well-known painter and writer. She has been exhibited widely in the US and Europe. Moyer has received awards from the Guggenheim and Joan Mitchell Foundations amongst other prestigious organizations. Moyer is a big LGBTQ activist, from 1991-2008 she co-founded one of the first lesbian art projects called Dyke Action Machine!, or DAM for short.
Her writing has appeared in many publications including Art in America, Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, Modern Painters and others. She currently serves as a Professor in the Art and Art History Department and is the director of the graduate program at Hunter College. Moyer has also taught at many prestigious universities including Yale.
Carrie Moyers piece “Tickler” is a very abstract painting that includes various nondescript objects that overlap each other in various ways creating an oddly satisfying image to look at. The colors she chooses complement each other in a way no one but her could have ever guessed.
At the end of the presentation the benefactors and patrons submitted their votes into a hat and each vote was counted. The piece that got the most votes and was purchased for the Weatherspoons collection was Carrie Moyer’s abstract painting “Rock Paper Scissors” which will be hanging among the other pieces bought from the previous Benefactor’s Choice events.