Over the past 70 years, the Weatherspoon Art Museum has accrued one the largest collections of American art in the southeastern US. With such an illustrious reputation, it’s no surprise that the recent ‘Tours & Treats’ installation is yet another exciting piece of Weatherspoon history.
The installation is presented three separate times with the first presented on June 14, another on July 12 and a final one will happen Aug. 9.
The beauty of the name is in its simplicity, much like the promised treat from which that name was derived. You take a tour, and then you get some ice-cream to help stave off the summer heat.
This was a small portion of course, and before the prize, there was the tour itself; a deep-dive into their most recent exhibit, entitled “Extreme Measures.” This exhibit featured paired objects that held radically different sizes or composition, but which still had similar intent, structure or methodology.
This was a unique premise given the spaciousness of the McDowell Gallery, the largest gallery in the museum where there were certainly some interesting pieces to be found. The prime example of this at work was Nancy Davidson’s piece “Spin Too!” It was an eye-catching oddity made of balloons, rope and what seemed to be a large bonnet. It was by far the largest piece in the collection; and, of course, on the wall hanging behind this obscurity was its counterpart put there by the curator, a picture of a much smaller looking mechanism, a thing that seemed to look like a piece of the more pronounced piece it sat beside.
The second pairing that really caught my eye, though the two parts were meant to work in tandem, was Bill Thelen’s piece, “Roy Garrett.” A quilt and a quote, all in memory of the late adult entertainment actor Roy Garrett, who died of AIDS. This piece serves to make comment on the “stigma of male homosexuality and serves as a tribute to marginalized people.” Owing to the quote, for me it was the most reflective piece in the exhibit. Language has always felt like a form of art; poignant, and meaningful.
This particular visit, the July 12 tour, the Weatherspoon paired with the Greensboro Science Center to infuse some scientific knowledge into the children visiting the museum. The lesson was about nanometers, and what it means for processes and organisms that exist on such a small scale. Everyone checked out their heights in nanometers (nm) and there were plenty of games to show off the properties of life and matter (mostly) unseen. Of course, I also had to get my height checked, sitting at approximately 1,750,000,000nm tall, or just over 5’9.
And lastly, the pièce de résistance, the ice-cream. There were two to choose from, the classic ice-cream sandwich and a crunch bar. I went for the latter, but there’ll likely be more options to choose from in the future.
There will be one more event like this being held this summer on August 9. So if you’re looking for an excuse to check out the Weatherspoon Art Museum, this free event is as good as any other.