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It’s impressive enough that poet Kevin Young is a National Book Award finalist, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. This Harvard graduate and Emory poetry professor has also been awarded a Stegner Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship, and he’s also been recognized with awards for several poetry collections. Now he’s been commissioned to write the principal essay in the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art’s catalogue for their upcoming exhibition Renée Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman. Young and Stout, along with two professors from the College of Charleston, visited the nearby African Oyotunji Village as part of the research for project. Young’s lecture will be an evening of both poetry and prose, as he’ll read excerpts from that essay as well as from some of his older works. “I’m always excited to bring contemporary African-American artists to CofC,” says Dr. Consuela Francis, director of the college’s African American Studies program. ‘It’s wonderful exposure for our students and a great way to introduce audiences to African American literature being produced right now.”
 
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Don ZanFagna, visionary and eco-artist, dies

Tue Oct 29, 2013
Charleston City Paper

Don ZanFagna, the man behind the ultra-eco-houses, or Pulse Domes, that filled the Halsey Institute last September, passed away last week at the age of 84, according to the Post and Courier.

ZanFagna was an artist and teacher who became obsessed with the idea for a Pulse Dome, a self-sustaining structure that was more akin to animal architecture — warrens, beaver mounds, etc. — than human. Built with organic materials, the Pulse Domes were intended to be sustainable in the most extreme sense. They would produce their own energy, grow crops, and be in perfect harmony with its environment.

His ideas don’t sound so crazy nowadays, with architects around the world creating homes that heat and cool themselves and have eco-touches like green roofs and rainwater capture systems. But no one yet has gone as far as ZanFagna did when he was creating his drawings and models back in the 1960s and ’70s. As the Halsey’s Mark Sloan said in our cover story on ZanFagna last year, “I honestly think that this material, once it’s out in the world and in circulation, I think it can actually have an effect … My hope would be that once this material is released into the world, people will say ‘Well, you know, here was a guy that was really onto something.'”

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When you go to a Renée Stout exhibit, be prepared to encounter two people. First there’s Stout, the artist. Then there’s Fatima Mayfield, Stout’s hoodoo-practicing healer alter-ego and the subject of an upcoming exhibit at the Halsey Institute, Tales of the Conjure Woman. Looking at the work that makes up Tales of the Conjure Woman, you’ll see Mayfield’s handwritten notes on seduction, her collection of roots and herbs in bottles and jars, models of hearts in torso-shaped wire cages, and paintings of various characters who people Mayfield’s world. The experience is one of looking through somebody’s else’s things — always a guilty pleasure — with an added spookiness that comes not only from the mystical nature of those mysterious objects, but from the ghostly presence of Mayfield herself.

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Conjuring a ‘shadow world’

Sun Oct 13, 2013
Post and Courier

The vital and transformative nature of art is a reminder of the power we wield as human beings susceptible to the creative process: our ability to express and discern meaning.

Renee Stout is an artist who makes objects that are themselves transformations. Her mixed-media work reflects her long search for manifestations of West African culture in the landscape of the United States, and represents both an inward and outward exploration of identity and language.

“My work is inspired primarily by my African-American roots, but also other cultures,” she said. “As an artist, when I express myself honestly, I’m trying to access the curiosity of the child in me. That resonates with people because they are looking for some kind of truth and honesty, what it is to be a human being, period.”

 
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Birth of the Living Dead

Thu Oct 10, 2013
Charleston City Paper

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got zombie fever or are on the verge of punching the next person who starts talking about The Walking Dead in the face, you have to recognize that zombies have changed horror forever. On Thursday, the Halsey Institute screens Birth of the Living Dead, a documentary about the iconic horror movie Night of the Living Dead. “This documentary falls in line with one of the Halsey Institute’s tenants — demystifying the creative process,” says Lizz Biswell, the curator of education and public programs at the Halsey. “Birth of the Living Dead does a great job of pulling back the curtain on George Romero’s film lab to share his thoughts, frustrations, and hopes while he was creating what is arguably one of the most iconic films in popular culture.”

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Making Conversation

Thu Sep 26, 2013
Charleston Magazine

Herb Parker’s organic structures have sprouted up all over the world, from beneath a waterfall in Japan to, most recently, Artpark on the Niagara River in New York. Composed of natural materials like bamboo, clay, and moss, the structures aren’t really built to last, yet they leave a lasting impression on viewers, who often walk away with an altered perception of the environment—at least that’s Parker’s goal.

But the College of Charleston professor also has a separate body of work that he creates in his Holy City studio, and it’s these found-object sculptures that are currently on view at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibition, dubbed “Studio Practice,” features a recreated version of Parker’s studio until October 5 (you can also see artist Joseph Burwell’s work space in “School of the Viking Spaniard Revisited”). But tomorrow, September 26, is your chance to hear Parker give a free artist talk in the Simons Center at 6 p.m. before a reception in the Halsey Institute galleries. Is your interest piqued? Get to know a bit more about the sculptor as he speaks to us about his studio work and more.

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Are you in need of a good luck charm, in search of spiritual guidance, or help with your relationship? Conjure woman, spiritualist, seer, herbalist, and fortune teller, Fatima Mayfield is here for you. She’s the alter- ego of Washington D.C.-based artist, Renée Stout, who returns, after a 17-year hiatus, to the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art with Tales of a Conjure Woman, featuring an array of work from the fictional Fatima’s life and conjuring practice.

Through humor and role play, Stout is able to use this persona as a vehicle for self-discovery and examination of everyday human experiences: love and relationships, health, wealth, societal is- sues. Through a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, and mixed media sculpture, Stout creates the objects that Fatima would have need of in her environment and practice, including talismans, charms, potions, and amulets.

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The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, SC, kicked off its fall season with exhibitions featuring two internationally recognized artists; Burwell and Herb Parker. Entitled Joseph Burwell: School of the Viking Spaniard Revisited and Herb Parker: Studio Practice the exhibitions examine the relationship between the studio and the work produced within. College of Charleston sculpture professor Herb Parker and alum Joseph Burwell will recreate their studio spaces within the Halsey Institute’s galleries.

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Have you ever had the opportunity to wander around in an artist’s studio?

It’s like being inside their brain. I’ve long been fascinated with the bits and pieces that inspire artists and would love to have private time to look into the studios of some of the famous ones.

Like Picasso, for instance. He had various studios over the years, and in pictures it’s wonderful to see the high ceilings and historic architectural rooms flooded with light, his paintings leaning against walls and his pottery stacked around the room.

The viewer wants to poke around and see what is there. Are there tribal sculptures for inspiration? A bullfighter’s cape? Both figure in his work, but are they things that Picasso would surround himself with?

So that’s why the upcoming exhibit at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston is intriguing.

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The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston in South Carolina recently opened an immense exhibition featuring five contemporary artists who create sculptures and installations using various books and printed materials. Rebound features new works by Guy LarameeLong Bin ChenFrancesca PastineDoug Beube, and Brian Dettmer. You can see many more exhibition views on the Hasley Institute’s website. The show runs through July 6, 2013.

 
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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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