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Published: Independent Online, March 21, 2001

Kate Dobbs Ariail

Back to the Future:
The Contemporary Art Museum emerges as the Triangle's most risk-taking venue for art

You may remember Raleigh's City Gallery of Contemporary Art--or you may not. When City Gallery left its Moore Square location a few years ago, it did such a convincing vanishing act that many people forgot all about it. Local newspapers reported that the gallery had bought a building on the west side and would be renting it while raising money for renovations ... and then nothing. When City Gallery changed its name to the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), few folks outside the gallery's immediate circle of supporters connected the two. CAM did make a few weak stabs at establishing a visible presence--with outdoor sculptures, storefront installations and school projects--at the same time that it was trying to keep a low profile because of a lawsuit brought by its (now former) tenant. Even some of the hopeful felt serious doubts about the gallery's viability.
March 21, 2001

Those days are over. With the opening of its first true exhibition, the Contemporary Art Museum is re-establishing its position as the Triangle's most risk-taking venue for contemporary art. CAM is still not in its own building, but it has something it has never had before: first-rate curators. Memories of Nature has been organized by the "international curator" Raphaela Platow, who, along with colleague Linda Johnson Dougherty, has the brains, the sensitivity and the ambition to take CAM far beyond the previous achievements of City Gallery. And thanks to a change in gallery policy, the work of North Carolina artists will now be treated with deserved respect, and shown along with the work of artists from around the country and the world. The first installment of Art in Transition features five North Carolina artists and five from Europe. This new attitude will make CAM one of the most important cultural sites in the state.

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