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GALLERY HOURS (during exhibitions)
Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open until 7pm on Thursdays
EDU BLOG

Finding Wonder in the Museum

Fri Feb 28, 2020
When I was first introduced to Butch Anthony’s Cabinet of Curiosities, titled Portrait of Johnny Parker as well as his other works, I was filled with just that: curiosity. I did not know much about the history of his Cabinet of Curiosities or where Anthony had gotten the idea to display art in such an unique way. After researching the origins of this particular style of art, I was able to compare and contrast the tradition of Cabinets of Curiosities to Anthony’s updated version.
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Though Butch Anthony’s pieces in Inside/Out and and Coulter Fussell’s quilts in The Raw Materials of Escape address the traditions of folk art, their approaches differ aesthetically and materially. Butch Anthony’s works incorporate taxidermy and animal bones, as well as other found materials. Similarly, Coulter Fussell’s quilts utilize found and donated fabrics which are then sewn together. Though quilting as a tradition is largely thought of as a purely practical pastime for women, Fussell alters that perception by making her pieces from unconventional materials that skew more towards establishing narrative and theme than simply being functional. Because of this, many of her works would work better as art pieces than as quilts to provide warmth. Here, the tradition of quilting and textile artwork is taken beyond craft and into the realm of fine art. The pieces gain meaning and visual interest beyond that which is garnered through even stitching or a soft exterior. Folk art becomes fine art. 
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In the current exhibition at the Halsey Institute, Coulter Fussell’s The Raw Materials of Escape examines the traditional themes of painting in a new and unique way. Coulter has an innate ability to speak with color. In this exhibition, she uses textiles in a way that is conventionally more similar to painting than quilting. Instead of repeating patterns and fabrics, Coulter uses donated textiles to create works of art that imitate paint in terms of gesture and color.
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One glance at Coulter Fussell’s exhibition ​The Raw Materials of Escape ​is all it takes to become engulfed by the artist’s seamlessly effortless entanglement between craftsmanship and painterly technique. Her background as a painter, the daughter of a quiltmaker, and her fascination with 20th century art all contribute to the creative product of her limitless art. Coulter Fussell is a textile artist that aligns with traditional quilting craftsmanship while also incorporating the contemporary techniques of a painting. Fussell’s unconventional practice stirs the conversational debate around whether her work is considered to be more like quilts or paintings.
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This blog post is the second of two featuring books in the Halsey Institute’s Biblioteca that connect with themes explored in the current exhibitions, Butch Anthony: Inside/Out and Coulter Fussell: The Raw Materials of Escape.
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I was involved with installing Coulter Fussell’s exhibition The Raw Materials of Escape, and I had a lot of fun. Katie Hirsch, the curator, carefully thought out where each quilt should be placed to make a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing exhibition. She also told me that we would usually use gloves to protect the artwork, but with Fussell’s special permission we were allowed to handle her artwork with our bare hands. I never thought that I would be allowed to touch the artwork in a gallery on my first day. Feeling the textures of each textile and seeing how she stitched her artwork was an incredible experience.
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Harrod’s Dream

Thu Feb 06, 2020
Looking around the gallery, I was in awe by the variety of mixed media present in Butch Anthony’s work. Among portraits from the American antebellum era and an assemblage of animal bones and taxidermy birds, I quickly found myself caught up by how much there was to take in. One piece in particular, however, truly caught my eye. Harrod’s Dream, 2019, located towards the back of the Halsey Institute not only combines many visual components of what Anthony’s work embodies but also features an audio monologue element.
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This blog post is the first of two featuring books in the Halsey Institute’s Biblioteca that connect with themes explored in the current exhibitions, Butch Anthony: Inside/Out and Coulter Fussell: The Raw Materials of Escape. With more than 180 fascinating photographs, Cabinets of Wonder includes ample text that examines the history of these curiously odd cabinets, as well as the motivations of some of their collectors to understand the world around them.
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Questioning entrenched assumptions about what art should be and how it is made is a practice long held by many artists and spectators. Marcel Duchamp revolutionized the idea of art in the beginning of the 20th century with readymade items presented as works of art. Readymades are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, and by simply choosing objects and repositioning it, the Found object became art.
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This blog post is the second of two that features books in the Halsey Institute’s Biblioteca that connect with themes explored in the current exhibitions, Katrina Andry: Over There and Here is Me and Me and Colin Quashie: Linked. The selected texts for today’s post both coincide well with Katrina Andry’s Over There and Here is Me and Me as one portrays life in her native New Orleans as a person of color, and the other examines the effects of gentrification on an urban environment.
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Free For All
GALLERY HOURS (during exhibitions)
Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open until 7pm on Thursdays
843.953.4422


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