North Carolina Museum of Art commissions campaign inspired by Alphonse Mucha exhibition

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North Carolina Museum of Art commissions campaign inspired by Alphonse Mucha exhibition
Lakeshia T. Reid, Healing in a Weeping Place, 2021, oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist.

RALEIGH, NC.- To celebrate the upcoming Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary exhibition opening at the North Carolina Museum of Art October 23, 2021, the NCMA tapped three North Carolina–based artists to reinterpret Mucha’s iconic art nouveau works from the turn of the 20th century. These reinterpretations explore contemporary definitions of beauty and widened cultural representation. The juxtaposition of the new designs and well-known Mucha images are intended to spark conversation about the art historical canon.

The three commissions are by Lumbee artist Alisha Locklear Monroe, an art teacher and former employee of the Museum of the Southeast American Indian at UNC Pembroke; painter and muralist Tori "FNoRD" Carpenter, who has shown her work statewide and is a disabled artist working with Arts Access, a group the NCMA collaborates with to make the Museum more accessible; and Lakeshia T. Reid, a Black painter who is the owner of 311 Gallery and has been in exhibitions in the National Humanities Center and Shaw University through partnerships with VAE Raleigh.

Mucha, a Czech-born artist (1860–1939), was one of the most celebrated artists in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. As an influential force behind the art nouveau movement, he created sumptuous posters and advertising materials—promoting such everyday products as cigarette papers and tea biscuits—that transformed the streets of Paris into open-air art exhibitions. Continuing the ethos of “art for the people,” these reimagined works of art will be displayed in select locations around Raleigh, including installations in North Hills and at the Citrix office building across from Morgan Street Food Hall & Market at West and Hargett streets, and given away as posters and prints at community events, including a November 5 First Friday in front of the Citrix display.

“Alphonse Mucha made it his mission to bring art to the streets and more accessible places, and that is what we aim to do with this campaign, reflecting the Museum’s goal of sharing art outside our walls and campus,” said Valerie Hillings, Museum director.

The posters will also be included in the exhibition gallery in an interpretive station for visitors to explore their own definitions of “modern beauty.”

“Beauty to me, in this context, is unapologetically being yourself,” said participating artist Lakeshia T. Reid. “It’s exuding strength, confidence and vulnerability, self-acceptance, and respect. It’s a celebration of the things that make each person unique.”

A similar project will be displayed on the Museum Park’s Park Billboards, created by area college students Pingui Ren, Fayetteville Technical Community College; Ella Mackinson, a Charlotte native currently studying at Pratt Institute; and Kiersten Joyner, East Carolina University. The biennial college art competition, “Park Pictures,” features student work that celebrates diverse visions of beauty in the art nouveau style of Mucha. The billboards will be on view by mid-November.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this project for many reasons,” said FNoRD. “Obviously, it’s a chance to interpret my favorite artist with a new feel, but also because, as a self-taught artist and a woman of a certain age, it’s very difficult to gain eyes on my work; I was honored to be chosen.”

Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary celebrates the Mucha Trust Collection’s first major U.S. tour in 20 years, featuring a vast array of posters, illustrations, ornamental objects, and rarely seen sculpture, photographs, and self-portraits—all showcasing Mucha’s distinctive style of harmonious compositions, sinuous forms, organic motifs, and lush color palettes. Additional works from the NCMA’s collection highlight the American development of the European aesthetics that influenced Mucha and his close friendship with French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

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