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Mark Sloan retiring as Halsey Institute director

Fri Oct 09, 2020
Charleston City Paper

Mark Sloan, director and chief curator of the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, announced today that he is retiring at the end of the year.

“It has been a grand adventure so far, and a privilege to serve as the director for Charleston’s contemporary art museum and to watch the concomitant explosion of contemporary arts programming throughout the region over these last two and-a-half decades,” he said in a statement Friday.

Sloan has been a museum curator for 37 years, receiving his current position as director and head curator at the Halsey in 1994. According to his statement announcing his retirement, 245 shows have been hosted at the Halsey under Sloan’s leadership. In 2012, the state gave Sloan and the Halsey the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for its art initiative throughout the state.

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Mark Sloan, director and chief curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, announced Friday he will leave his post at the end of the year.

Sloan has run the Halsey for 26 years, bolstering his reputation for mounting exhibitions of works by many lesser-known as well as several very well-known artists.

He worked his path in a relatively conservative arts environment, often thrilling patrons with imaginative and provocative shows, most of which included an array of ancillary programming such as artist talks, gallery tours, documentary films and impressive catalogs made in collaboration with local designer Gil Shuler.

The Halsey, named for Charleston native William Halsey, a respected modernist painter and sculptor who died in 1999, is part of the College of Charleston. It was located in a small front corner of the Simons Center on St. Philip Street when Sloan arrived in 1994.

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Arts are out in full-force virtually and in person

Sat Aug 22, 2020
Post & Courier

This fall, the arts and culture scene in Charleston may emerge in a different form than it has in the past, but it still promises ample inspiration. If artists and practitioners have demonstrated anything of late, it is their ability to remain creative and responsive to the times, shifting platforms, forging new content and connecting in whatever manner possible to uplift and entertain us all.

With its standing track record of video art installations, documentaries and film screenings, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston continues to deliver resonant, relevant content to the campus and the community. At the same time, Redux Contemporary Art Center highlights emerging and established artists from Charleston and beyond.

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Ten different artists will share their ideas of “home” during an online exhibition this fall presented by College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. In the midst of an international pandemic, Dis/placements: Revisitations of Home, opens Aug. 28.

Dis/placements is presented through the artists’ submissions on what the concept of “home” means to them. All of the exhibiting artists are former Halsey Institute artists. One is Jiha Moon, who presented a traveling solo show at the Halsey in 2015. Moon’s artistic mediums — painting and ceramics — often overlap. “Painting for me is very organic [with] a lot of different techniques, lines and brushstrokes. They can go on any type of surface,” Moon explained. “When it goes on ceramic surfaces and people call it surface decoration, it kind of devalues the work. My idea is when I use different surfaces it kind of changes the identity or the way it’s viewed as a medium but has the same act whether you’re painting on paper or canvas with oil.

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Meet The Wild, Weird, & Wonderful Mr. Sloan

Sat Aug 01, 2020
Charleston Magazine

For the past quarter-century, the Halsey director and chief curator has taken chances, championing the odd and overlooked, and in doing so, transformed a small college gallery into an internationally known hub of contemporary art.

It’s hard to forget the Soundsuits. The surreal, oddly gorgeous costumes by Chicago artist Nick Cave took Charleston by storm, and by surprise, in 2010, delivering a head-scratching wow—part haute couture fashion show, part mishmash of elaborate crochet meets African tribal artistry meets some kind of avant-garde furry garb from the Star Wars bar scene.

The exhibit, “Call and Response: Africa to America/The Art of Nick Cave and Phyllis Galembo,” was a cross-cultural celebration of mystical wonder, and a timeless show, it turns out, as resonant today as it was a decade ago. Cave, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, created his wearable, almost shamanic sculptures as a means of masking identity to protect against violence and prejudice—his response to the racially charged 1991 killing of Rodney King in Los Angeles. But even if you missed the subtext, you couldn’t miss the stunning visual impact.

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Colin Quashie’s 80-by-63-inch canvas called “Strom’s Song: Looked Away, Looked Away, Looked Away Dixieland” shows the face of Strom Thurmond superimposed over an image of the Confederate flag and two Black men hanging from ropes. Assembled below are certain prominent people of South Carolina, including one Black man, who supported flying of the flag atop the state Capitol.

When the painting was included in a 1994 show arranged by the S.C. Arts Commission and hosted by the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, it nearly cost Halsey Director Mark Sloan his job.

A sitting legislator was on campus for a meeting, learned of the painting, which included him among the figures depicted, and demanded that then-President Alex Sanders fire the person responsible, according to Sloan. This was slander and insubordination, the legislator argued. (Sanders has said he can neither recall the details of the incident nor dispute Sloan’s account.)

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When it moved into the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts in 2010, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art finally had the space it needed – not just to host artists and display their work, but to expand its reach and stretch its vision for the future. And now, a decade later, the Halsey is taking a moment to look back and celebrate the shows and projects it has brought to the College of Charleston in the space of 10 years.

 

Featuring virtual content and artist interviews, the Halsey Institute’s 10-week project, titled 10 /10 – Reflections on a Decade of Exhibitions, is running entirely online from Monday, June 15, 2020, until Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, – each week exploring a different year of its exhibitions, partnerships and programs in the Cato Center.

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“Southbound” exhibit is now open to the public

Sat Jun 13, 2020
WTOK-TV Meridian, Ms.

A new exhibit focused on the visions of the south at the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience is open to the public.

The new exhibition “Southbound” explores Photographs of and about the New South. The MAX and Meridian Museum of Art partnered to spit all 220 photographs and to showcase them in their museum. According to southboundproject.org, “The photographs echo stories told about the South as a bastion of tradition, as a region remade through Americanization and globalization, and as a land full of surprising scenes and colorful characters.” If you want to see the other half of the exhibit, the Meridian Museum of Art will open Tuesday to the public.

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The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience and the Meridian Museum of Art come together to present the exhibition Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South beginning Saturday for the general public.

Take a journey through the history, culture, environment and people since Reconstruction through the lenses of 56 photographers.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 6. Free with museum admission at The MAX; free and open to the public at The Meridian Museum of Art.

An opening reception will be held at the two venues Friday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The MAX and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Meridian Museum of Art.

Hors d’oeuvres + beverages will be served at The MAX, and desserts and coffee will be served at the museum. A cash bar will be available at both locations.

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Photographs of and about the New South’ opens June 12

Sat May 30, 2020
The Meridian Star

An exhibition comprised of 56 photographers’ visions of the South over the first decades of the 21st century will be a joint venture for two downtown Meridian venues.

“Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South” will be on display at The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (The MAX) and the Meridian Museum of Art (MMA) simultaneously through September.

“Southbound” offers a composite image of the region. The photographs echo stories told about the South as a bastion of tradition, as a region remade through Americanization and globalization, and as a land full of surprising scenes and colorful characters. The project’s purpose is to investigate the senses of place in the South that congeal, however fleetingly, in the spaces between the photographers’ looking, their images, and our own preexisting ideas about the region.

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