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UNCG's Weatherspoon exhibitions focus on animation, beasts and awe-inspiring objects

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Weatherspoon Art Museum exhibitions

Hans Berthold, "Pelikane", 1903. Woodcut on paper, 6 3/16 x 8 1/2 in. Unknown edition. Weatherspoon Art Museum, UNC Greensboro. Museum purchase with funds from the Benefactors Fund, 1976.2302

GREENSBORO — The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNCG will share three new exhibitions this summer.

Visit "The Eye and the Ear: Animations by Mary Ellen Bute (May 14–Sept. 10); "Ostensibly So: Sculpture from the Collection (May 28–Aug. 13), and "Bestiary: Animals as Symbols and Metaphors (June 11–Dec. 3).

From the mid-1930s to mid-1950s, Bute produced more than a dozen pioneering animations that sought to allow viewers to see sound.

Born and raised in Texas, Bute left home at 16 to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Frustrated by the limitations of working on canvas, she learned stage lighting at Yale University before moving to New York where she forged collaborative relationships with innovators across professional fields and disciplines in the pursuit of presenting music through moving images.

The Weatherspoon’s presentation of Bute’s animation "The Eye and the Ear" celebrates the launch this fall of a new Bachelor of Fine Arts Concentration in Animation offered by UNCG's School of Art.

The exhibition "Ostensibly So" offers new ways of looking at three-dimensional objects. Whether forms that no longer serve their original intent, eye-catching works that avoid specific contexts, witty re-interpretations of objects, or illusionistic wonders, these artworks drawn from the museum’s collection reflect a fascination with and exploration of the methods and materials of artmaking as well as the concepts of form and function.

As plausible rather than demonstrably true entities, they incorporate additional elements such as humor, symbolism, social commentary, personification and allusion. The exhibition highlights works on the collection that have been both often and rarely seen, including those by Nick Cave, Tara Donovan, Carol Hepper, Do Hu Suh and Marc Swanson.

Finally, two of the Weatherspoon’s galleries will be awash with an array of creatures this summer. This menagerie consists solely of two- and three-dimensional representations of familiar animals, many of which are quite benign and intriguing.

Drawn from the museum’s collection and arranged by species, "Bestiary" is a contemporary look at the old bestiary tradition.

Both a literary and illustrative genre that originated in the ancient world, bestiaries served as a kind of natural history, cataloging known and mythological animals as well as providing moralizing allegories. The tradition continues in artwork by modern and contemporary artists — the work in this exhibition ranges in date from 1880 to 2015 — who likewise use the appearance and habits of animals to comment on human behavior.

Related Programs:

"Ostensibly So" Curator's Talk, noon July 12. Second-floor galleries. Free and open to all; no registration required.

"Bestiary" Curator's Talk, noon Aug. 24. Second-floor galleries. Free and open to all; no registration required.

Visitors also can check out a Sketch-Storming book. Visit the museum's welcome desk from June 1-Aug. 5.

For a complete, updated list of Weatherspoon programs, visit

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