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Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open until 7pm on Thursdays
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For Pam Longobardi, art is a form of reparation.

“I travel all over the world to high-impact beaches and I collect ocean plastic from those beaches,” she said. “We are haunted by the ghosts of our consumption, especially when we see them coming back from the dead.”

The exhibit features 45 works by six artists: Longobardi, Dianna Cohen, Alejandro Duran, Sayaka Ganz, Aurora Robson and Kirkland Smith. All use post-consumer plastic debris to make two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks.

Cohen makes tapestries from plastic bags. Duran arranges waste and photographs colorful “landscapes.” Ganz creates impressionistic animals in motion using plastic and metal waste. Robson makes large abstract sculptures and medium-size assemblages from plastics. (Her work was featured by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in the fall of 2017; one piece was acquired by the S.C. Aquarium and is on display on the first floor.)

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Critics’ Picks: The best arts events in town this week

Wed Jun 26, 2019
Charleston City Paper

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art | Luncheon in the Garden: Re-entry into society after incarceration
Bring your own lunch to this special (free!) talk held in conjunction with the Halsey’s current exhibition, Cry Joy Park — Gardens of Dark and Light. Artist Jennifer Wen Ma conceived of a series of luncheons, held among her work, that deal with themes explored in Cry Joy Park. Break bread with other members of the community while enjoying a collaborative performance by a musician, dancer, or poet, relating to the luncheon’s theme. This weekend’s theme focuses on the issues pertaining to re-entering society after incarceration. The question, posed by Ma is: How do we bring the formerly incarcerated back into the fold of society, so they can become active and productive members of this paradise again?

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Dance Comes to the Halsey Institute

Tue Jun 25, 2019
CofC Today

What is the impact of merging two art forms? Is the effect synergistic? Does it deepen the meaning of one or the other – or both – for the viewer? Those questions and others will come into sharp focus on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, and Saturday, July 6, 2019, when dance faculty member and choreographer Kristin Alexander presents a performance set in the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art within its current exhibition “Cry Joy Park — Gardens of Dark and Light.”

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A guide to local favorites in Harleston Village

Wed Jun 19, 2019
The Washington Post

Harleston Village is perfect for the bibliophile, foodie or jock. While the area’s borders technically encase parts of the King Street Fashion District, most Charlestonians know it as a place apart from the rush of tourists and traffic. While pushing a stroller along Colonial Lake or finding a favorite indulgence after a long week, this area is perfect for those looking to cultivate their passions.

The College of Charleston’s nonprofit art institute provides a peek into some edgier regional sensibilities for art lovers and students alike. Free from the responsibilities of a large permanent collection, director Mark Sloan attracts and curates exhibitions that are often hands-on.

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If you’re looking to get a little cultured this month, then we’ve got some ideas. Why not visit a local art gallery to appreciate some Lowcountry artists or get involved in a hands-on art event to expand your own skills? From pop-ups to workshops, here are a few artistic endeavors to check out before the end of June. 

The Halsey’s latest free exhibit explores the concept of paradise, particularly Charleston as a paradise. Halsey programming includes several luncheons that bring together people in the community for conversations on issues affecting the Lowcountry. At noon Saturday, June 22, the topic at lunch will be land issues, from habitat loss to homelessness and gentrification. Bring a bagged lunch and break bread with artist Jennifer Wen Ma and other community members.

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Jennifer Wen Ma first came to Charleston in 2015 as director and visual designer of Spoleto Festival’s production of “Paradise Interrupted.”

The artist, who designed a portion of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, has applied her creative talents across mediums. For the Olympics, she created grandiose visual displays that incorporated light and dance. For Spoleto, she created an “installation opera,” a hybrid of performance and visual art.

That opera’s premise has since blossomed (literally) into a visual art exhibit of utopian gardens examining the concept of paradise. Who builds these utopias? Who gets to enjoy them? Who is excluded from them?

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The College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, is presenting, Cry Joy Park: Gardens of Dark and Light, featuring work by Jennifer Wen Ma, on view at The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, through July 6, 2019, part of the 2019 Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

“The exhibition is an investigation into the construct of a utopia, inspired by the history of Charleston, South Carolina, a cultural and artistic capital of the American South, and an exemplar of its opulence and beauty. This installation aims to present both an alluring, gorgeous and otherworldly garden, and its darker counterpart. The worlds created by the exhibition, is a juxtaposition of utopia and dystopia, and is presented via an immersive sensory experience that utilizes various forms of communication to convey its message.” Taken from the Halsey Institute’s press release.

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In 1939, a 24-year-old William Melton Halsey, recently graduated and married, was slated to travel to Europe on an artistic scholarship. For us here in Charleston today, the artistic landscape of our city might have looked quite different had everything gone according to planned.

Halsey’s name on the College of Charleston’s Institute of Contemporary Art is how most people probably know it, but for fans and art history buffs like The George Gallery owner Anne Siegfried, Halsey is all over Charleston.

“It’s kind of like his ghost lives everywhere around here,” says Siegfried. “There’s probably not a road in the city he didn’t walk down, being born and raised here and spending practically his whole life here.”

This month, when Siegfried opens the Paint on Paper exhibition showcasing a collection of small “little gems,” as she calls them, from the very end of Halsey’s life, it’s a chance to see the artist in living color.

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Cry Joy Park — Gardens of Dark and Light investigates the history and social landscape of Charleston, a cultural capital of the American South, and an exemplar of its complex opulence and beauty. The exhibition creates an immersive, multi-sensory experience that explores the juxtaposition of utopia and dystopia. Cry Joy Park is part of a larger body of work that deals with the difficulty of reconciling opposing forces in our society. It follows the explorations that began with Paradise Interrupted, an installation opera conceived, designed, and directed by Ma, which made its world premiere at Spoleto Festival 2015, performed at Lincoln Center Festival, New York and continues to travel worldwide.

Walking into the Halsey gallery, one steps into the enveloping tangles of an oversized black garden, employing Ma’s signature visual language of honeycomb paper structures and cultivated chaos. Crawling vines and branches heavy with giant leaves and fruits are complimented by motion-sensored portions of the garden that introvertedly retreat when approached by the visitor. At the far end of the garden, one must push through a flower portal reminiscent of a botanical birth canal, emerging from darkness into the garden of light. Dark impenetrability gives way to shocking brightness, and comforting ambiguity is replaced with glaring clarity. Mirroring the responsive intelligence of the dark garden, portions of this cut-paper foliage move to greet visitors in extraverted display.

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Hot Travel: Charleston, South Carolina

Mon May 20, 2019
Hot Press

Rich with stunning scenery and historical attractions, Charleston – South Carolina’s largest city – is a must-visit US destination.

Charleston is home to a massive number of iconic buildings and public spaces. These include the Dock Street Theatre (135 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401, charlestonstage.com), the first documented theatre in America, and an integral part of the nation’s history of playwriting and performance. On the other hand, sites like Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired, or Calhoun Mansion (16 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, calhounmansion.net) – home of Patrick Calhoun, grandson of the famously cruel American politician John C. Calhoun – are must-visits for anyone interested in American history.

Some regard The Charleston Museum (360 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403 charlestonmuseum.org) as America’s very first museum, making it a fascinating place for those interested in learning more about the city. Centres like the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (161 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29424, halsey.cofc.edu), meanwhile, maintain the region’s impressive artistic legacy.

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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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