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Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Alexis Rockman

August 25, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Composite image of Alexis Rockman and a painting from his Shipwrecks series featuring a manatee, wood debris, and a drowning human

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Ackland Art Museum in connection with their current exhibition Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks, on view through September 4, 2022. From the Ackland exhibition website:

“Shipwreck stories have long held broad fascination for many of us – artists included.

“Alexis Rockman (American, born 1962) created this dramatic series depicting historic sea disasters to explore the impact of transportation and migration – from goods and people to plants and animals – on our planet and its waterways.

“While many of the catastrophes to which Rockman alludes have receded into history, his works point to how our interconnected world has generated – and is on track to continue to create – significant global changes. Some experts now refer to our age as the Anthropocene, a term coined by biologists for the time period in which human activity has dominated and fundamentally altered Earth’s natural systems. However, Rockman’s works in this gallery often prioritize omitting actual humans from the scenes, focusing instead on the representation of other flora, fauna, and material culture that bear witness to humankind’s impact.

“Ultimately, Rockman employs the repeated visual metaphor of a shipwreck to offer a stage for questions of Man versus Nature to play out in its many forms, exposing the potential for both strength and fragility on each side.”

Notable solo museum exhibitions include “Alexis Rockman: Manifest Destiny” at the Brooklyn Museum (2004), which traveled to several institutions including the Wexner Center for the Arts (2004) and the Rhode Island School of Design (2005). In 2010, the Smithsonian American Art Museum organized “Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow,” a major touring survey of his paintings and works on paper. His series of 76 New Mexico Field Drawings was included in “Future Shock” at SITE Santa Fe (2017-18). “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle,” a major exhibition of large-scale paintings, watercolors and field drawings, toured the Midwest in 2018-20, opening at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and traveling to five institutions in the Great Lakes region. Rockman’s work is represented in many museum collections, including the Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Grand Rapids Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; New Orleans Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Exhibition organized by Guild Hall of East Hampton and presented by the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC.

An endowment established in 1983 through the generosity of Nancy and Robin Hanes supports the Art Department’s Visiting Artist Series. This important program brings both established and emerging artists to campus to discuss their work in public lectures and to offer individual critiques to our M.F.A. students.  The Hanes Visiting Artist series greatly enriches both our academic programs and our outreach to the wider community.  All lectures are free and open to the public.

A weeknight or daytime permit is now required after 5:00pm on weekdays. There is no permit required from 5:00pm Friday through 7:30am Monday. A $1.00 one-night pass is available in selected lots. More information can be found at Weeknight Parking.

Artist website:

Exhibition website:


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August 25, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


121 Hanes Art Center
Hanes Art Center
CHAPEL HILL, NC 27599 United States
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Sabine Gruffat