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Virtual: Clouding: Shape and Sign in Asian Art

January 20, 2021 - February 13, 2022

From January 20, 2021-February 13, 2022, the Ackland Art Museum will be exhibiting a year-long installation that explores the diverse forms and functions of clouds in the arts of Asia. This exhibition will juxtapose works of art in different media and from different time periods spanning the Bronze Age to the present.

Clouds have long held a significant place in human imagination and thought. Clouds elude straightforward perceptual and symbolic identification. The diversity of forms of clouds in Asian arts can therefore raise questions about “clouding,” asking viewers to consider the significance of the invisible, the indeterminate, and the in-between.

Clouds are present as decorative and symbolic motifs, framing devices, compositional strategies in landscape painting, and as color. Ceramic surfaces can derive from the fire-driven cloud of ash and carbon in the kiln and even calligraphy, ink painting’s conceptual twin, can invoke the metaphor and analogy of clouds.  These themes are explored with some forty works from the Ackland’s distinguished collection of Asian art, including screens, scrolls, ceramics, lacquer, and metalwork. Learn more about this exhibition

The Ackland presents approximately 10-12 changing exhibitions a year, with more than half the Museum’s gallery space dedicated to special and traveling exhibitions. These shows feature a wide stylistic range of art, from contemporary American photography to European master paintings, from video installations to early modern portraits. A portion of the Museum’s permanent collection of over 19,000 works of art is always on view.

The Ackland reopened its doors on Wednesday, January 27 with timed ticketing and limited capacity. To allow for physical distancing, occupancy will be limited to 25% of capacity using a timed entry system. This will require visitors to get tickets online in advance of the preferred day and time of entry. The Ackland requires that all staff and visitors wear masks while visiting the Museum. Learn more about hours, ticket reservations, and health policies at the Ackland. 


January 20, 2021
February 13, 2022
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Ackland Art Museum
101 S. Columbia St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States


Ackland Art Museum
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