The Ackland Art Museum presents more than a dozen exhibitions every year, offering a wide stylistic range of art, from contemporary American photography to European master paintings, video installations to Early Modern portraits. The Ackland's holdings—over 16,000 works of art—include significant collections of European masterworks, twentieth-century and contemporary art, African art, North Carolina pottery, and folk art. In addition, the Ackland has North Carolina's premier collections of Asian art and works on paper (drawings, prints, and photographs). The Ackland has a vibrant and active program and event schedule offering music, films, gallery talks, and other activities on weekends and during the Museum's extended Thursday evening hours.
The Ackland Art Museum is located at 101 South Columbia Street in Chapel Hill, near the corner of South Columbia and East Franklin streets. Admission is always free, with donations appreciated.
Museum hours are 10 am–5 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; 10 am–8 pm Thursdays; and 1 pm–5 pm Sundays. Parking is available at several nearby municipal and private parking decks, and metered street parking is available on Franklin Street. More information is available at (919) 966-5736 (general information), (919) 843-1611 (recorded information), or on the Ackland Art Museum website.
Genius and Grace: François Boucher and the Generation of 1700
Jan 23–Apr 5
Genius and Grace presents exemplary drawings by twenty-seven accomplished artists who influenced the practices of art and draftsmanship for much of the eighteenth century. Their vision, combined with their enormous technical skill, ensured the full realization of the rococo—the bold, graceful, and fluid manner so characteristic of French art of the first half of the eighteenth century. The brilliant career of François Boucher, the best-known artist of his generation, is represented in the show by nineteen drawings. Other artists featured in the exhibition include Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Charles-Joseph Natoire, Charles-Antoine Coypel, and Carle Vanloo.
Eighteenth-century Drawing from the Ackland Collection
Jan 7–Apr 5
Resonating with works on view in Genius and Grace: François Boucher and The Generation of 1700, nine drawings from the Ackland’s distinguished and growing collection of eighteenth-century European art have been chosen for this exhibition. This presentation offers a broader view than Genius and Grace by including Italian drawings and works by major artists active in later decades, such Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Jean-Baptiste Greuze.
Recent Acquisitions of Japanese Art
Jan 7–Mar 22
In this focused installation, the Ackland presents six varied works of Japanese art, selected from the more than 115 acquired over the past eighteen months. Ranging from a thirteenth-century ritual bell to a late 1960s Op-art poster, the display also includes a delicately painted export vase from around 1720, an early nineteenth-century scroll painting, several dynamically composed color woodblock triptychs from around 1900, and a modernistic portfolio of decorative and ornamental prints from the 1930s.
The Ackland is delighted to host this special presentation of three powerful paintings by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) from the distinguished collection of Julian H. Robertson Jr. (B.A. ’55). The paintings, from 1938, 1943, and 1965, come from very different periods of Picasso’s long, productive, and versatile career, but they are united by a focus on the human head as a locus not only of powerful emotions, but also of painterly and compositional challenges. This exhibition has been made possible by the generosity of the Ackland National Advisory Board.
Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz
Dec 3 2014–May 31 2015
Working with Boston-based collectors Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz since November 2013, the Ackland has been presenting changing installations selected from their comprehensive holdings of recent and contemporary Japanese ceramics.
Among the most innovative and experimental practitioners of contemporary Japanese art, these ceramicists have explored the wide and fascinating range of expressive possibilities offered by clay and glazes. Presented within the context of the Ackland’s important collection of historical Asian art, the installations offer the opportunity not only to see significant examples by major artists, but also to reflect on their dynamic relationship to tradition. This third installment in the series combines pieces from the Horvitz Collection with works from the Ackland. One section focuses on functional objects, mixing contemporary ceramics with older works. The other section showcases abstract, non-functional works, highlighting dramatically differing approaches to the medium of porcelain.
All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information or to register for a program, visit the Ackland’s Adult Programs web page.
The Ackland Film Forum, a collaboration between the Ackland Art Museum and numerous departments at the UNC-Chapel Hill, highlights different aspects of the art of cinema and showcases the aesthetic power of film. Art films, narrative films, and documentaries are chosen by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and Ackland staff, often in connection with particular courses, campus-wide initiatives, or exhibitions.
Film screenings take place on select Tuesdays beginning at 7 pm in the Hanes Art Center 121, UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
Fee: Free! No RSVP needed.
In connection with Genius and Grace: Francois Boucher and the Generation of 1700, the Ackland Film Forum presents "Rated aRt: Risque Films about Art in the Eighteenth Century."
The Draughtsman's Contract (Peter Greenaway, 1982)
Tuesday, Feb 24
Mr. Neville, an arrogant young artist, is contracted by Mrs. Virginia Herbert to produce twelve drawings of her husband’s estate. But when Mr. Herbert’s body is found, Mr. Neville’s drawings prove to be worth more than originally thought. This murder mystery is was the recipient of the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.
Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears, 1988)
Wednesday, Mar 4
Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and winner of Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction, Dangerous Liaisons follows the revengeful plot created by Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) to end her ex-lover’s (John Malkovich) current relationship. Also starring Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Quills (Philip Kaufman, 2000)
Tuesday, Mar 10
Quills reimagines the last years of the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), who has been sentenced to the Charenton Asylum for the Insane for his scandalous political commentary. Determined not to be silenced, he has his political machinations smuggled out for publication with the help of the asylum’s laundress, Madeleine LeClerc (Kate Winslet). Quills received three Oscar nominations and two Golden Globe nominations. Also starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Abbé du Coulmier and Michael Caine as Dr. Royer-Collard.
Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola, 2006)
Tuesday, Mar 17
Written and directed by Sophia Coppola, this daring, highly-stylized period film looks at the life of the French queen (Kirsten Dunst) in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Coppola was given unprecedented access to the Palace of Versailles for the filming and chose New Wave and Post-Punk music for the soundtrack. “This is Sophia Coppola’s third film centering on the loneliness of being female and surrounded by a world that knows how to use you but not how to value and understand you.” – Roger Ebert
The Digital Salon Series features lunchtime chats for art historians, artists, and others interested in the intersections of visual culture and new developments in digital humanities. We meet to explore together new digital tools and the potential to transform research and art practices. The series is co-sponsored by UNC’s Sloane Art Library, Art Department, and Ackland Art Museum. This spring’s salon features two sessions at the Ackland Art Museum.
Lunch: Bring a bag lunch—yes, people do!—or pre-order a boxed lunch from Jason’s Deli that will be waiting for you at the Ackland! Order your lunch when you register online ($9.00, payable by cash, check, or credit card at the door).
Cost: Admission is FREE.
- Wednesday, Mar 18, 12:20 pm–Introduction to #D Scanning & Printing Register for this session!
On selected Wednesdays, the Ackland invites members of the University community and friends of the Ackland to enjoy an hour of inspiration and information about works of art currently on view at the Ackland. Bring a bag lunch or order a boxed lunch from Jason's Deli that will be waiting for you at the Ackland ($9.00, payable by chash, check, or credit card at the door). Admission is free. Because space is limited, an RSVP is requested.
Wednesday, Mar 4, 12:20 pm
“Carle Vanloo, Mile Cairon, and the Fearful Medea” Mary Sheriff, Art Department, UNC-Chapel Hill
The second Saturday of every month, Amanda Hughes (Director of External Affairs) leads participants in a creative exploration of a particular object in the Ackland’s collection.
For all sessions, bring paper and dry media (crayon, pencils, etc). All levels are welcome. This event is free and open to the public. No reservation necessary.
- Saturday, Mar 14, 10 am–12 noon
- Saturday, Apr 11, 10 am–12 noon
- Saturday, May 9, 10 am–12 noon
- Saturday, June 13, 10 am–12 noon
On select Sunday afternoons, enjoy live music in the Ackland’s galleries. A wide variety of performers can be heard, from classical quartets to bluegrass, to enhance your museum experience.
Free and open to the public.
Sundays, Feb 15 and Mar 15, 2–3 pm
Enjoy a two-part series exploring French Baroque music for both courtly occasions and salon settings. Featuring Brent Wissick (Music, UNC-Chapel Hill), the UNC Baroque Ensemble, and special guests.
Join us for Tai Chi in the Galleries, which is inspired by the renowned Asian art collections at the Ackland. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese movement practice known to reduce pain and improve your mental and physical balance and well-being. This class uses gentle Sun-style tai chi routines that are safe, easy to learn, and suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
All movements are done standing. Wear comfortable clothes and supportive flat shoes. The class is taught by Joanne Marshall, a certified yoga and Tai Chi for Health instructor. More information about Sun Style tai chi can be found at the Tai Chi for Health Institute website.
All classes are held from 1 pm–2 pm. Fee: free for members; $5 for non-members (payments should be made at the door by cash or check).
- Monday, Mar 2– Register for this session!
Take a break from your day and explore the world of yoga in the beautiful setting of the Ackland! The hour-long sessions offered by registered yoga teacher Joanne Marshall provide an opportunity to practice a series of gentle yoga poses inspired by the art in the gallery. Beginners are welcome. Yoga mats are provided. Wear comfortable clothing that will allow you to stretch.
All classes are held from 12 –1 pm. Fee: free for members; $5 for non-members (payments should be made at the door by cash or check).
- Monday, Mar 2– Register for this session!
Art à la Carte
Bring a friend and spend your weekend creatively with these relaxed, hands-on art classes designed exclusively for Carolina students. Each session, led by Allison Tierney, begins at the Ackland Art Museum, where you’ll examine the techniques, materials, and effects that other artists have achieved. You’ll then go to a studio in Hanes Art Center to try the techniques yourself as you create works of art that you can take home. Classes are designed for beginners, but are suitable for students with some art experience.
Not sure about Art à la Carte? Read a UNC student's perspective to learn about what to expect!
Location: Meet in the Ackland Art Museum Lobby
Fee: $10 per class (materials provided). Registration is required, as space is limited. Register online.
Saturday, Mar 14, 2 pm–5 pm
Inspired by works on view at the Ackland, we’ll use carving tools to create a “relief” sculpture in clay based on the many examples.
Plein Air Landscape Painting
Saturday, Apr 11, 2 pm–5 pm
We’ll begin inside by examining the Ackland’s collection of landscape paintings, then go outside to engage our inner artists with watercolors.
All programs for families and children are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. See the Ackland’s Family and Children’s Programs web page for more information.
Designed for six- to nine-year-olds, Art Adventures sessions provide kids with a guided view of art in the Ackland’s galleries, followed by the opportunity to create take-home treasures in an adjacent art studio using newly-learned art-making techniques. Materials are provided.
Fee: free for members; $5 for nonmembers. Space is limited. To be added to the waitlist for any of the below dates, please call Allison Portnow at 919-843-3687.
No upcoming dates currently available. Check the Ackland website for future Art Adventures.
Drawing for Tweens
This program invites ten- to thirteen-year-olds to look at selected works in the Ackland’s galleries and identify techniques that the artists used to make them. Gallery teachers demonstrate and teach participants technical skills, which they can then apply to their own artistic creations. A mix of drawing from works on display and creating one’s own original works is offered in each session.
Each Drawing for Tweens session runs from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm on the second Saturday of the month. Materials are provided. Free to members; $5 non-members. As space is limited, please register online one month prior to the program date.
- Saturday, Mar 14 - "Dancing Off the Page" Register for this session!
Family and Friends Sunday
On the fourth Sunday of the month, spend an interactive, art-filled day with family and friends at the Ackland Art Museum from 1 pm–5 pm.
What can I do with my friends and family?
- Conduct an “Art Interview” with your friend or family member – pick up a question sheet and pencil at the Information Desk.
- Play art games like Ackland Art Bingo, or challenge yourself and your friends to solving Ackland “Art in a Jar” puzzles.
- Make your own version of the Ackland’s “Artwork of the Month” (chosen by the previous month’s visitors).
- Teens and adults might especially enjoy taking a conversational Take Two Tour with two experts.
Who should come?
YOU + your friends, your family, your pals, your loved ones, your buddies, you… get the idea. Basically, it’s free and open to folks of all ages.
- Sunday, Feb 22
- Sunday, Mar 22
- Sunday, Apr 26