Local Arts

Moses Luski Contemporary Collection

Charles Clary, Fermatic Wilderness, 2008, part of the Moses Luski Contemporary Collection, on view at UNC Charlotte Center City Campus.
Charles Clary, Fermatic Wilderness, 2008, part of the Moses Luski Contemporary Collection, on view at UNC Charlotte Center City Campus. Crista Cammaroto

A vibrant new exhibition, the Moses Luski Contemporary Collection, is now displayed throughout the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus. Though we might normally expect to see artworks presented in a traditional gallery setting, this diverse exhibit can be found on the many floors of a modern urban building, adjacent to classrooms, lecture halls, faculty offices and meeting rooms.

The goal, according to UNCC Gallery Director Crista Camarroto, is to “invite daily critique and reflection.”

Moses Luski grew up surrounded by art acquired by his parents Sonia and Isaac of Charlotte. Over time, Luski bore witness to and was inspired by the joy art collecting brought them. Befriending creativepeople, observing their career growth and sharing in their artistic successes, he said, were among the benefits that enriched the young Luski’s path to adulthood and his passion for collecting. Later, as a student at Columbia University in New York, he said he expanded his understanding of art and visited museums as diverse as the Frick Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

The real door to collecting for Moses Luski opened during a period when his daughter studied at Savannah College of Art and Design. There, he said he became fascinated by the student experience, the rich and creative opportunities available to students, budding artists he met and observed as they matured through their studies.

In gallery notes for visitors, Luski describes the display as a “teaching collection.” This rationale aligns with the stated approach that university sets forth as a strategy for exhibiting diverse works in various learning areas. The loans amount to about 10 percent of the collection, and there will be periodic rotations to refresh the viewer’s experience.

The works illustrate a wide range of background, media and development. In addition to a museum-like visitor experience, there are other potential benefits. Given the pictorial images and related subject matter, faculty could use such information to enhance the students’ learning experience.

“While we’re not teaching art classes here, we hope that the displays inspire creativity in the way that students learn about and discuss their subjects,” said Jerald Coughter, executive director of UNCC Center City.

Interdisciplinary practice enlivens student learning and mastery of subject. Imagine, for example, students learning about urban design by observing British artist Laura Oldfield Ford’s mixed-media drawing “M6, Junction 9, Bescot,” which shows a representation of transportation and pedestrian infrastructure. Instruction prompts from faculty to their students might include determining the essential features of the urban setting. Another might be to consider why additional construction seems under way and what might have been contributing factors.

Belk College of Business faculty might discover alternative approaches to describing the complexities of the American and global economy. Yi Hsin Tzeng’s mixed-media, site-specific installation “Flow,” an integration of canvas, wall and floor as surfaces for creative expression, embodies this type of volatility and relational complexity.

The introduction of the Luski collection invites us to consider the arts anew. “Collecting is like a road trip,” Luski said, “a quest.”

This story was produced as part of the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance.

Moses Luski collection

The Moses Luski Contemporary Collection is on indefinite loan and features 41 artworks by emerging and established artists in media including ceramic, glass, works on paper, mixed media, acrylic paintings, prints and photography.

Details: UNC Charlotte’s Center City, 320 E. Ninth St. The exhibit is displayed throughout the 11-floor building. Open every day. centercity.uncc.edu

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