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Alumni Ben Alper and Peter Hoffman Pop-Up Exhibition in Chapel Hill

February 18, 2020

The Living Dune

UNC-Chapel Hill alumni Ben Alper and Peter Hoffman have created an exhibit featuring photography from Jockey’s Ridge in Nag’s Head.

“Jockey’s Ridge in Nag’s Head has changed in shape over thousands of years and continues to move incrementally southward to this day, threatening nearby homes and roads. There have been large scale and costly attempts to stem this natural process, which highlights the often fraught relationship between human behavior and the “natural”environment. Read the full artist statement below.

The 140 West Franklin St. space is powered by Arts Everywhere, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.


February 21 – March 22
Thursdays – Fridays // 4-7 PM
Saturdays – Sundays // 12-6 PM

There will be a special opening reception on Friday, Feb. 20 from 6-8 PM! 


A message from the artists Ben Alper and Peter Hoffman:

In photographing Jockey’s Ridge, we’ve sought to heighten the camera’s predisposition toward distortion, as a means of addressing the kind of intervention present (albeit invisibly) at the site.

Whether that manifests through artificial or colored light, spatial confusion, abstraction, performative gestures that we enact, or the literal or metaphorical depiction of others, the resulting images foreground photographic decisions that ultimately implicate a human presence in this fragile landscape.

Taken together, the photographs that make up this show constitute a very different portrait of this pseudo-natural environment – one that is at once surreal, unfamiliar, but ultimately still beautiful.

This exhibit is made possible by:

Arts Everywhere          Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership

Associate Professor Sabine Gruffat part of Process Series 19th Amendment Project

February 7, 2020

February 27 and 28, CURRENT ArtSpace, 7:30 pm

The Process Series presents the 19th Amendment Project in collaboration with Arts Everywhere and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. UNC faculty-artists create interdisciplinary performance centered around the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, exploring women in politics.

Four projects were chosen to be presented in this shared program and will go on to launch a new faculty performance series in 2020-2021.

The Debate – Heather Tatreau (Department of Exercise & Sport Science) & Tracy Bersley (Department of Dramatic Art) This dance-theater piece will use a series of duets and text to investigate how women in politics have been characterized over the past 100 years – from anti-suffragette propaganda to current female politicians portrayed as medusas in the media.

XIX – Jacqueline Lawton (Department of Dramatic Art)
This play exposes the racial divide of the 19th Amendment by following an interracial family where all the women were fighting for suffrage, but only half of them won the right to vote.

Sojourner Truth – LaToya Lain (Music Department)
This one-woman show, comprised of song and spoken narrative, explores the effects and aftermath of the passage of the 19th Amendment as told by one of the most famous black participants in women’s suffrage, Sojourner Truth.

#19 – Sabine Gruffat (Department of Art) & Bill Brown (Department of Communication)
This two-person, three-channel Live Cinema performance will incorporate original laser-etched 16mm film, a selection of
archival 16mm film loops, and an original electronic soundtrack in order to survey and contextualize the 19th Amendment and to explore the past and present struggles of women to achieve political empowerment.

BFA Alumna Allyson Packer solo show at SMU’s Hawn Gallery

January 30, 2020

Allyson Packer: Sounding
On view February 7 – March 29, 2020

Monday – Thursday | 9 AM – 9 PM
Friday | 9 AM – 6 PM

Saturday | 12 – 5 PM
Sunday | 2 – 9 PM

Opening Reception with the artist | Friday, February 7 | 5 – 7 pm

The Hawn Gallery is pleased to present Allyson Packer: Sounding, a site-specific, interactive installation spanning all four floors of the Hamon Arts Library at SMU. With looping video, text-based instructions, and subtle interventions into the architecture and resources of the library, Packer offers viewers an encounter with the possibility of the infinite. While infinity may only exist as a concept, spaces like libraries, Packer argues, can suggest it. The building itself has clearly defined boundaries, and at any given time the physical and digital materials that make up its collection of resources can be quantified numerically. There is a sense of impalpable depth too contained within The Hamon Library, the sublime potential of what is already known, what could be known, what is not yet known, and what is unknowable. The exhibition’s title, Sounding, describes the process of measuring— originally with lead and line, today with sonar— the depth of a body of water, without making direct physical contact with it. Likening the contents of the library to a body of water, the pieces included in this installation act as sounding instruments to plumb the collection’s literal and metaphorical depths. Water, in many different forms, recurs thematically across the whole exhibition. It appears in direct citation of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings, in reference to a fountain outside of the library, in imagery based on folders containing sheet music from the Hamon stacks, and on the public computer desktops.

For several months, Packer has visited the library regularly. She spent long afternoons wandering the stacks, getting to know Hamon’s internal and external rhythms and overlooked quirks. This extended visitation with no other purpose allows her to develop an outsider’s peculiar knowledge of the place that’s at once intimate and remote. The resulting interventions into the space deviate only slightly from a patron’s usual experience of the library. Most are subtle to the point of precarity— the term that French art historian, Anna Dezeuze, in Almost nothing: Observations on precarious practices in contemporary art, uses to describe artworks that exist on the verge of disappearing into the fabric of the everyday (5). By existing on the border between perceptible and imperceptible, Packer’s work redirects viewers’ attention to their own bodies, and their awareness of their presence in a space.

Allyson Packer will speak about her work at the opening reception on Friday, February 7.

Artist bio

Allyson Packer makes artwork that engages viewers in an examination of the myths and values embedded in the built environment. Her installations and performances have been shown at Nahmad Projects (London), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), and Birds + Richard (Berlin), among other venues. Her upcoming solo exhibition, Inland Sea, will open at the Las Cruces Art Museum’s Brannigan Cultural Center in July 2020. Packer earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Denton, Texas, where she is a faculty member in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas.

Image courtesy of the artist.

Studio art students receive UNC Libraries’ Arts Incubator Awards

January 28, 2020

Congratulations to undergraduate studio art major De’Ivyion Drew and MFA candidate Sally Ann McKinsey on receiving UNC Chapel Hill LIbraries’ Arts Incubator Awards!

Jerry Jameel Wilson, Cortland Gilliam and De’Ivyion Drew  are collaborating on a visual arts project that examines representations of blackness within the UNC-Chapel Hill community, and explores the experiences of black students at Carolina from 1955 to the present, with an eye toward the future. The project consists of two complementary componentssculpture and short film that broaden and deepen conversations about the importance of symbols, the impact of art in the public sphere and the meaning of equal access to the benefits of citizenship. The artist hopes to display the sculptures and the short film together in a multimedia exhibit that challenges our understanding of place, time and progress. 

Sally Ann McKinsey“The Coffin Is A Table” investigates cultural responses to illness and death in medical and memorial customs in the American South, particularly those that involve corporate labor in giving both medical care and gifts of cards, food and handmade objects to those experiencing illness or loss. Through sculptural installation and printed matter, the project is concerned with medical and social practices that attempt to keep the dying alive, to manage chaos or to control mortality, and the material practices that reveal large, unanswered questions of living, dying and losing. The project explores fiber materials as metaphors for systems of support, examining artistic labor in traditional folk crafts like crochet, embroidery and quilting using medical textiles like operating room sheets and hospital gowns. 

More information about other Arts Incubator awardees can be found at

MFA candidates in group show in Durham

December 10, 2019

December 13th, 2019
@ private practice, 506 N. Buchanan Blvd.
Durham, NC 27701
6-8 PM

Domestic Incantations will feature work that explores materials and themes borrowed from each respective artist’s background. Through the reproduction of old family recipes, medicinal practices, and treasured artifacts, artists will examine their cultural histories and share them with one another in a household setting. This show will take place at private practice 506 N. Buchanan Blvd in Durham, North Carolina on Friday, December 13th from 6-8 pm and will feature MFA candidates Cassidy Kulhanek, Alena Mehić, Chloé Rager, Krysta Sa, Natalie Strait, Vonnie Quest, and Sheyda Yazdi.

2019 Undergraduate Art Awards Winners

December 9, 2019

Congratulations to our 2019 Undergraduate Art Awards Competition Winners! Give them a well-deserved thumbs up for all of their hard work!

Alexander Julian Prize Winner: 
Caroline Allen,  $1000

George Kachergis Studio Art Scholarship Winners:
Barron Northrup, $1000
Anabelle Quarles, $1000
Adrianne Huang, $1000
Mingxuan Shen, $1000

Anderson Undergraduate Studio Award Winner:
Peri Law, $800

Johnathan E Sharpe Scholarship Winners:
Pax Rudenko, $800
Carolyn Bucknall, $800
Tristan Brown, $800
Eleanor Burcham, $800
Elizabeth Trefney, $800
Livian Kennedy, $800
Cynthia Carcamo, $800
Ella Kiley, $800
Luke “Blue Boy” Collins, $800
Madeline Chandler, $400
Nitara Kittles, $400

Penland Scholarship for Diversity Winner:
Peri Law

Penland Partners Scholarship Winner:
Barron Northrup

Sculpture Garden Phase I Design Honorariums:
Caroline Allen, $500
Peri Law, $500
Pax Rudenko, $500
Medeline Chandler, $500
Nitara Kittles, $500
De’lvyion Drew, $500

Alumni Jessica Dupuis and Chieko Murasugi featured in GreenHill Winter Show 2019

December 6, 2019

December 8, 2019 – January 17, 2020
200 N Davie St
Greensboro, NC

Winter Show brings together over 100 artists each year from across North Carolina and constitutes a comprehensive survey of the finest art and craft being produced by artists who either reside or have lasting ties to the state. Painting, sculpture, photography, ceramic, jewelry, woodwork, fabric and fiber works are all displayed in a harmonious installation. Artists showing work in the exhibition vary not only by mediums, but also by experience, background and perspective. All work is available for purchase.

More information about the exhibition can be found here at

Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Thursday:12PM-5PM, Friday: 10AM-5PM, Saturday: 12PM-5PM, Sunday: 2PM-5PM (Gallery Only)

New Chapel Hill Exhibition Space, Basement, with Alumni Curatorial Staff Opening 11/15

November 15, 2019

A new art space in CH is opening tomorrow night and we’d like to invite everyone. Lots of recent MFA grads are involved.

Thanks so much and looking forward to seeing some familiar faces soon!

Dear Friends,

We are thrilled to invite you to the opening reception of BASEMENT’s inaugural exhibition, Breathing Without A Body, on Sat. Nov. 16 from 6-9 PM.

BASEMENT is located at 605 Caswell Rd, Chapel Hill NC 27514

Please park on the street and do not block driveways or mailboxes in the neighborhood. Follow the illuminated walkway down on the left side of the house and you will find the door to BASEMENT.

If you plan on coming, please reply to this email. Please feel free to send this to friends, family and other community members who you think would be interested in our programming.

See below for more details about our inaugural show!
We look forward to seeing you!

Breathing Without A Body: 

Stephen Hayes, Saba Taj, and Max Symuleski & Sinan Goknur
November 16, 2019  – January 5, 2020

Opening Reception: Saturday, Nov 16, 6-9  pm

In the trash heap of history, how do we excavate what we need to survive? If we are to take the present as being devoured by advanced consumer capitalism – a condition that siphons off both the past and the future and forecloses access to the present – we must contend with the condition of incongruous temporalities and modernities. The artists in this exhibition ask us to grapple with these differently paced understandings and experiences of time and space.

BASEMENT’s inaugural exhibition features Durham-based artists Saba Taj, Stephen Hayes, and collaborative work by Max Symuleski and Sinan Goknur. Employing a variety of methods and media, including collage, drawing, sculpture, and video, the artists consider the past, present, and future through an exhumation of the body within distinct social and historical landscapes. Speculating on the contradictions and continued violence of racism and economic development in the name of capital, together these works assert a space of both resistance and resilience.

Stephen Hayes is a mixed media sculptor and creator whose work references socio-cultural race dynamics rooted in historical references. A Durham native, Hayes completed his BA at North Carolina Central University, and his MFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His work seeks to change societal perceptions of Black identity and otherness through the vulnerability of sharing experiences and the catharsis of collective realizations. Hayes was an Arts Lab fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab in 2017–2018. Hayes’ work has been exhibited throughout the south, including at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta, Ga., CAM Raleigh, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, N.C. Hayes is currently the Brock Family Visiting Instructor in Studio Arts in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University.

Sinan Goknur is an artist and PhD Candidate in the Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Program at Duke. Sinan’s academic work investigates a new return to the social in the arts through queer and feminist aesthetics after the 1980 military coup in Turkey.  Prior to coming to Duke, Sinan was a member of the MAW, an artist collective in Minneapolis, MN seeking to activate public engagement with art and politics through impromptu outdoor performances and large-scale mixed media projections.

Max Symuleski is an artist, writer, and PhD Candidate in the Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Program at Duke. They are currently writing a critical-aesthetic investigation of the role of maintenance labor in life and art under the governance of neoliberal capital. Max has a background in visual arts, queer nightlife and performance, amateur tinkering, and professional academic administration. They hold an MA (’12) in Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research and a BA (’05) with a concentration in Art Theory and Visual Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. Max lives in Durham.

Saba Taj is an interdisciplinary artist based in Durham NC. Taj’s work ruminates on Muslims, monsters, and nazar (the evil eye), often in the wake of apocalypse, and speculates on the boundaries between life forms and our evolutionary/spiritual potential for porousness and hybridity. Saba is currently the post-MFA fellow with the Documentary Diversity Project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She is the former Director of The Carrack Modern Art in Durham, featured speaker for TEDxDuke 2017, and a founding member of Durham Artists Movement. Taj received her BA in Art Education from North Carolina Central University, and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

BASEMENT is a provisional artist-run project space that supports experimental and critical art practices. We choose to strengthen and build connections between artists and communities.

Studio update from Alumnus Ben Alper

October 21, 2019

Website update + introducing: Sleeper – a new publishing project

From Conflation

Hi everyone!

I’m emailing with two exciting updates. First, I’ve added two ongoing projects to my website. One-way Mirror is a 4-year response to the effects of deindustrialization in North Carolina and the physical expressions it has left on the landscape. Conflation is a series of digital composites made from multiple images of the same object or space.  You can see more from both projects at the links above.

from One-way Mirror

I’m also thrilled to announce that I’m launching a new publishing project with Peter Hoffman and Ross Mantle.  It’s called Sleeper, and while our website hasn’t officially launched, you can sign up for our mailing list now to keep up with future projects.  We have forthcoming titles from Aaron Turner, Julie Renee Jones, Timothy Briner and a book of vernacular photographs from the collection of Robert E. Jackson.

We’ll be at the Silver Eye Book Fair in Pittsburgh this coming weekend with books and prints from our previous publishing projects.  Swing by and say hi!

Silver Eye Book Fair
4808 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224Friday, October 4, 5 – 10 pm
Saturday, October 5, 11 am – 6 pm

Ben Alper

Alumnus Reuben Mabry Solo Show at Golden Belt

October 15, 2019

Vestiges of Chaos: Reflections on War
Reuben Mabry

October 14-December 30, 2019
Third Friday Opening Reception: October 18, 6-9 pm
Artist Talk: October 26, 1:30 pm

Artist’s Statement:
In Vestiges of Chaos: Reflections on War, I created works on paper resulting from an amalgamation of research, recollection, and self-reflection rooted in my experiences as a US Army attack helicopter pilot while deployed to Afghanistan. By employing painting, drawing, and mark-making techniques from Asian and Western art historical and contemporary movements of abstraction and representation, these pieces bridge verbal and written gaps created by traumatic experiences of war. These pieces are also vestiges reconstructed from experiences in combat that reclaim the events of the past and bring onus into the present.

Grand Gallery, Golden Belt Campus
Mill #1 Building
800 Taylor St., Durham, NC 27701