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‘Visible Man’ Chronicles Last Two Decades Of Fahamu Pecou’s Art

Mon Nov 27, 2017
WABE - Where ATL meets NPR

A new book chronicles the past two decades of Fahamu Pecou’s rise to international art world fame, as well as his own personal and artistic evolutions.

The book’s title, “Visible Man,” is more than a passing reference to Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel, “Invisible Man.” On “City Lights,” Pecou said the title is “a way of connecting past and present.” In his paintings, performance art and more, Pecou meditates on Black masculinity and the representation of Black bodies.

“What I’ve been working towards … is rendering the Black body visible, exposing the humanity in Black masculinity,” he said.

Visible Man” is published by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and is available now.

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Multimedia artist and educator Aurora Robson creates sculptures out of plastics and recycled materials to raise awareness on environmental topics such as human waste in our ecosystem. This piece, “Sea Change”, can be seen at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston. // charlestonmag.com

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A seashell made of soda can tabs. A brightly colored fish with aluminum scales dotted with familiar logos of beer and soda. And a spindly crab with legs that were once the sturdy bones of a beach chair.

These student-made creations born from trash collected on Sullivan’s Island, S.C., will make their debut in a display in the lobby of the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, as part of the “Sea Change” exhibition co-sponsored by the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and the South Carolina Aquarium.

The process of turning trash into visual treasure has been challenging but fun, says sophomore Beth Alexander.

“We definitely all spent some time just sitting here, staring at everything we had picked up, trying to figure out what to do with it,” says the studio art major.

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The trailer for ALBATROSS opens with, appropriately, a line from Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “Until my ghastly tale is told, this heart within me burns.” Within seconds we’re taken to Midway Island in the north Pacific Ocean, more than 2,000 miles from the nearest continent; blue waves break, and birds swoop through the sky, landing in halcyon green flowering fields, filled with other birds.  

It’s peaceful and lovely, until it’s not. 

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Behind the Scenes of Halsey’s Latest Exhibit

Fri Oct 20, 2017
The College Today

College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art has been buzzing with activity in preparation for the premiere of its latest exhibit “Sea Change,”  which opens Friday, Oct. 20.

This exhibit is presented in collaboration with the South Carolina Aquarium to raise awareness about our enormous plastic waste problem and the detrimental effects on our planet. “Sea Change” features the works of sculptor Aurora Robson with “The Tide is High” and photographer-filmmaker Chris Jordan with “Midway.”

Robson sculpts oceanic installations using plastic waste, and Jordan displays images of seas and sea life marred by the overwhelming deluge of trash.

The College Today got a peak at the installation of Robson’s work in the Halsey Gallery ahead of the big opening.

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Every year, more than eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. It was a number so astounding that even Jenna Jambek, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia and lead scientist of a resounding 2015 study on ocean waste, couldn’t believe it.

“We all knew there was a rapid and extreme increase in plastic production from 1950 until now, but actually quantifying the cumulative number for all plastic ever made was quite shocking,” Jambek told National Geographic earlier this year.

It wasn’t the only alarming statistic that Jambek and her team found. There were dozens of others, like the one about the average American throwing away 185 pounds of plastic every year, or how less than 10 percent of that waste is ever recycled.

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The birds do it. The fish do it. The clams and oysters do it. You do it, too.

It’s estimated that humans could be ingesting up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic each year. The health implications are not yet known, but it’s safe to say the problem is cause for concern.

The source of the problem is an economic system that relies on the mass production and consumption of cheap plastic products and the vast quantities of plastic waste that accumulate as a result. A portion of that waste ends up in the oceans, then breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually, the pieces get to be the size of a grain of sand, or smaller.

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Plastic Waste Focus of Halsey’s Sea Change Exhibit

Fri Oct 13, 2017
The College Today

An upcoming exhibit at the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art titled “Sea Change” is intended to convey the message that our society’s culture of convenience comes at a steep price and produces consequences we can’t afford to ignore.

According to Mark Sloan, director and chief curator at the Halsey, this exhibit about plastic pollution is meant to engage viewers on a visceral, emotional and intellectual level.

“Plastic is entering our oceans at an alarming rate, ultimately making its way into the food chain and consequently threatening not only the lives of marine creatures, but also humans,” Sloan explains. “It’s estimated that 14 billion pounds of trash end up in our oceans each year. And scientists who study this issue project that by 2050, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish.”

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The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art announces a fall season teeming with exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, special member events, and discussions. From American purgatory to mountain peaks to trash as treasure, the Halsey’s programming is as diverse as it is universal — check out the full lineup below.

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The College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art has received a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant for a 2018 exhibition of Cuban artist Roberto Diago’s work, which focuses on racism and the traces of slavery in the Caribbean.

The exhibit is part of the special classes, performances, and events surrounding Cuba en el Horizonte, the college’s semester-long interdisciplinary project. Diago’s status as a Cuban artist was a big draw, Mark Sloan, the director and chief curator of the Halsey Institute, says.

“He is among the most prominent contemporary artists in Cuba, and an emerging voice on the global stage,” Sloan says. “We have a long history of introducing artists like this to the Charleston community.

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