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Outdoor installations by New York-based artist Heather Hart and North Carolina artist Daniel Johnston come to the NCMA
Daniel Johnston, Untitled, 2018, wood-fired clay, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist.

RALEIGH, NC.- The North Carolina Museum of Art celebrates the opening of Heather Hart’s temporary, interactive installation Southern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off and a new, permanent commissioned sculpture by Daniel Johnston with an outdoor “Hoopla” party Saturday, May 4, in the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, featuring music, food, art making, and more.

Hart’s Southern Oracle, similar to the one pictured here, is a partially submerged rooftop sculpture with just the roofline peeking out of the ground. It is inspired by her family history in North Carolina and the album Mothership Connection by Parliament-Funkadelic, the project of renowned singer, songwriter, producer, and North Carolina native George Clinton. Visitors can climb on top of the work and venture inside, surrounding themselves with music from their own phones that they can play through speakers. In addition to the May 4 opening event, several other community gatherings, to be announced, will take place at the rooftop. The installation is on the hill near Ledelle Moe’s Collapse I (2000) sculpture.

“Having admired Heather’s work for some time, I’m thrilled to collaborate with her to bring a new iteration of her insightful Oracular Rooftop series to North Carolina,” said NCMA guest curator Teka Selman. “It’s fitting that a work that strives to facilitate communication and community interaction will be on view at the Museum Park, which is dedicated to providing a welcoming and inspiring artistic space. It will be wonderful to see how visitors engage with the sculpture and, in sharing their own stories, find connections with each other.”

Artist Heather Hart said: “For the Southern Oracle, I want to go back to the inception for the series and think about the lyric it was named for, ‘We Will Tear the Roof off the Mother,’ from the Parliament album Mothership Connection in my mother's collection. George Clinton, of Parliament, is from Kannapolis, N.C., and I was looking for the intersection of this with my fascination with threshold spaces and with the site itself. I was ultimately inspired by the idea that the NCMA is North Carolina’s museum, spanning what I see as the most diverse state in the U.S.”

Seagrove, N.C.–based artist Daniel Johnston’s untitled installation features 178 hand-built, wood-fired ceramic pillars, varying in height from several inches to over 6 feet, made from Piedmont clay. Installed in a straight line that plays against the rolling landscape of the Museum Park and designed specifically for this site, this sculptural installation brings to the forefront ideas of walls, borders, and boundaries, and how one moves through the world, literally and metaphorically. The work is in the Park’s meadow near Mark di Suvero’s No Fuss.

“I’m a product of the NCMA and seeing the work there. That my first permanent installation, and the largest, is at the NCMA is a profound moment in my career,” said artist Daniel Johnston. “It’s an honor to work with the iconic North Carolina red clay and install this sitespecific work.”

Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art Linda Dougherty said, “Pushing the conventional boundaries of craft and pottery, Johnston’s first monumental, outdoor museum commission transforms familiar forms into unexpected and aweinspiring experiences for the viewer.”

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