Surprise and discord abound in museums and galleries this month, whether in protest movements, unusual use of ordinary materials or naughty ads from the proper South.
Out in the Streets: Democratic National Convention, Chicago 1968
Modern political conventions are well-orchestrated multi-day infomercials. But the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which took place against a backdrop of assassinations and war, was a violent, scary mess. This exhibition features work by six photographers who documented the thousands of protesters who converged on Chicago and the police who brutally beat them back.
The Light Factory, through Jan. 21
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Annabel Manning: Occupy Charlotte, Then and Now
Manning’s work often deals with marginalized people. Her current exhibition delves into Occupy Charlotte, a movement she knows as an observer and supporter. The centerpiece is a series of photographs that are vividly colored but blurred, reflecting the occupiers’ passion and agitation.
Gallery visitors can participate by writing messages on paper tents that can be placed on the floor or pinned to a wall; more than 150 tiny tents now occupy the gallery.
Elizabeth Ross Gallery, Central Piedmont Community College, through Oct. 14
Between the Springmaid Sheets
We all know that sex sells, but who knew that a pioneer in suggestive advertising hailed from Fort Mill, S.C.? In the late 1940s, Col. Elliott White Springs, who owned Springs Mills textile company, began marketing boring old sheets with steamy ads.
“Between the Springmaid Sheets” includes original illustrations and prints ads from Springs Mills’ campaigns of the 1940s and 1950s. Both historically significant and entertaining, it features an array of pin-up girls, assorted admirers and a flood of double entendres.
Winthrop University Galleries, Rock Hill, through Oct. 26
Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design
“Against the Grain” was organized by New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, but it debuted in Charlotte. It is crammed with innovative work.
Notable is dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s “Grapes.” Ai dismantled Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) stools, reassembling them into a grape-like cluster, so they have lost their value as antiques, as well as their capacity to function individually.
For “Skowhegan Birch,” Maria Elena Gonzalez created digital drawings based on birch bark; they can be inserted in a player piano, resulting in music that is “written” by a tree.
Mint Museum Uptown, through Jan. 27
Vik Muniz: Garbage Matters
Working on the floor of a vast warehouse, Muniz recreates famous paintings from trash, then photographs them from above. Although they are straightforward photographs, the large-scale final works look like complex, manipulated images.
Mint Museum Uptown, through Feb. 24