Visitors to the Research Triangle of North Carolina (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill) may be lured there by high-tech innovation, but they shouldn’t miss out on world-class art. Since it opened in 2005, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has become a major center for art in the area, not just with its own impressive permanent collection, but through organizing and presenting cutting-edge exhibits that travel to a variety of institutions around the globe.
Part of the Nasher’s appeal is that it is small and accessible, not to mention beautifully designed. The building is set up a hill and surrounded by trees and lush greenery; its modernist design by Rafael Viñoly features galleries, classrooms, a lovely little cafe, and a gift shop radiating off a central courtyard with a dramatic 13,000-square-foot glass-and-steel roof rising 45 feet.
Two recently-mounted shows on view through early 2015 are knockouts. The first is “Miró: The Experience of Seeing,” a dazzling gem of an exhibit highlighting the Spanish master’s late works, 1963-81. The Nasher is the only East Coast venue for this first-ever presentation of the artist’s final two decades of work (on loan from Madrid) and it includes huge, vibrant paintings (below, “Woman, Bird and Star [Homage to Pablo Picasso]” from 1966-73), and some of the artist’s most fanciful sculptures.
The second highlighted show, “Rauschenberg: Collecting and Connecting,” offers a fresh look at 34 works in a wide variety of media that the artist reserved for his own special collection. The exhibit pairs Rauschenberg’s innovative work with pieces from the permanent collection that echo and contrast with his unique aesthetic.
NASHER MUSEUM OF ART AT DUKE UNIVERSITY 2001 Campus Drive, Durham, N.C., 919-684-5135, www.nasher.duke.edu. Tickets to Miró exhibit, $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 non-Duke students. Regular admission $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 non-Duke students. Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu till 9, Sun noon-5.