Hampton Roads Community News

Virginia MOCA Now Open With Free Admission To View Poignant Exhibitions

Jamel Shabazz, Fly Girls, 1982, © Jamel Shabazz. Courtesy of the artist and Snap! Gallery, Orlando. Collection of Dr. Robert B. Feldman.

Nina Chanel Abney, #33, 2018, © Nina Chanel Abney. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has reopened free to the public with three poignant exhibitions on display. The exhibitions were scheduled to open on March 21 but were pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will remain on view until January 3, 2021.

Two of them—Shifting Gaze: A Reconstruction of The Black & Hispanic Body in Contemporary Art From the Collection of Dr. Robert B. Feldman, and Hampton Boyer: There’s No Place Like Here—are tied closely to the Black Experience and offer messages particularly insightful, given today’s climate of racial protests across the nation. The third is  New Waves 2020, and features the work of Virginia artists.

  “Discussions to bring Shifting Gaze: A Reconstruction of the Black and Hispanic Body in Contemporary Art and new work by Hampton Boyer to Virginia MOCA began almost two years ago,” said Virginia MOCA Executive Director Gary Ryan. “The messages within the exhibitions were true then and are particularly poignant right now in light of the recent violent and unnecessary deaths of Black Americans. Virginia MOCA stands against racism and is committed to providing a space for discussion, learning, and progress towards a fuller understanding of our shared humanity.”

  Nearly a year ago, Virginia MOCA created a community advisory committee of artists and activists of color including professors, non-profit professionals, business leaders, and more. The committee provided essential programming, engagement, and outreach guidance, and continues as an important and valued institutional sounding board.

  Due to generous underwriting from community sponsors, admission to these exhibitions is free to all visitors. In addition, free programming will continue online at VirtualVAMOCA.org. On-site programs will resume once it is safe to do so.

The Museum is open with restricted hours, timed ticketing, and carefully planned social distancing and sanitation practices. Every 30 minutes, 10 patrons can enter the exhibitions where they will follow a set path through the Museum. Tickets will be free and are available online at VirginiaMOCA.org. Until further notice MOCA is open Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Fridays: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (first hour is reserved for patrons 60+); Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (first hour is reserved for patrons 60+); and Sundays: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Exhibitions Now Open


Shifting Gaze: A Reconstruction of The Black & Hispanic Body in Contemporary Art From the Collection of Dr. Robert B. Feldman features 27 internationally regarded artists who create timely considerations into race and identity. The works are inspired by global art history, American history, and popular culture and present a broad range of concepts including identity, beauty, and belonging. They challenge perceptions about the way society and each of us may or may not look at the “other.”

Through various media, such as painting, sculpture, drawing, and collage, the Black, Hispanic and Latinx body is subtly implied in some instances, beautifully unfolds in others, and in a few, is direct, dramatic, and heartbreaking. The symbolic framework of the “shifting gaze” helps generate a larger dialogue between the works and our current diverse physical, social, and political landscape.

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Hampton Boyer: There’s No Place Like Here  showcases a new series of work in the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. Boyer, who is African American, uses bright, clear colors and geometric forms layered with complex texture and composition in his work. He takes inspiration from many sources: street art, graphic novels, music, contemporary artists, and art history to create landscape and interior scenes.

About his show, Boyer said, “This show has different avenues of history and elements of today’s culture. It also has strong notions of love and family and recognizes how we’re all tied in together in different facets of life. It creates an honest look into the life of an African American artist living in today’s culture and where we have transcended from.”


New Waves 2020 celebrates the 25th juried exhibition of work by Virginia artists at Virginia MOCA. The 29 works presented were selected from more than 1,900 entered for consideration.


   The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Call 757-425-0000 or visit VirginiaMOCA.org

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