When the Norton Museum of Art formally reopened last month after a two-year-long, $100 million expansion, the work of Nina Chanel Abney was on display.
The months and months of closure probably seemed like eternity for art lovers, but it has reopened with a stunning new wing—the Kenneth C. Griffin Building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster. It is the most comprehensive renovation in the institution’s 78-year history.
The Museum’s expansion also includes lush new gardens, which feature 15 works of sculpture, and a reinterpretation of historic galleries original to the Norton when it opened in 1941. The Museum now includes more than 15 galleries of art, a beautiful community space in the Ruth and Carl Sharpio Great Hall, a restaurant with outdoor seating, the Stiller Family Foundation Auditorium and new classrooms and exhibition space for student art in the Education Center.
One of the exhibits creating an exciting buzz is Ms. Abney’s work, titled Neon, which will be on display through June 25. The 37-year-old, New York-based contemporary artist and painter (shown at top) explores race, gender, pop culture, gun violence and politics in her work. It is the latest example of the Norton’s focus on both contemporary art and female artists in its exhibition series RAW: Recognition of Art by Women, launched in 2011. Ms. Abney’s work uses symbols and bold bright colors, see above, to present new ways of approaching loaded topics as she invites viewers to draw their own conclusions.
Like other revolutionary modernists of color, such as artist and author Romare Bearden and artists David Hammons and Kara Walker, her work is relevant, timeless and demands attention.
And, like Ms. Abney, all of their work is currently on display at the Norton but in a different exhibit: Going Public: Florida Collectors Celebrate the Norton, which runs through June 4. Visit Ms. Albrey’s work and schedule of events here and the works of the other artists, here. And to learn more about the really interesting Norton Museum of Art, click here.
There are other remarkable artists at the Norton in some way, including Lenelle Moise, a young, award-winning poet, actress and playwright of Haitian descent who will perform, teach and interact at three events in April. Click here to learn more about those events; they are also listed on the coco calendar.
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