Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Museum of Art’

Photos of One Eared Cow Glass Sculpture at Columbia Museum of Art Celebration of Chihuly Chandelier

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

We now have photos of the finished piece by One Eared Cow Glass installed outside the Columbia Museum of Art during the Museum’s Red Hot…Cool! 60 Years of Color gala on the evening of Apr. 17, 2010.

Here’s a link to my earlier comments on that.






I have to say, it looks pretty spectacular!

Like I said – give Tommy Lockart, Mark Woodham, and their assistant, Ryan Crabtree, $360,000 and see what you get – considering they made this work on speculation just for this one event – for one evening.

Now we’ll see if someone is smart enough to purchase this work. I wish I could.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Features Great Ceramic Works

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

In our continuing effort to bring CAU readers news about events taking place in the Carolina pottery community, I’m scooping Carolina Arts in bringing you this article about an exhibit now on view at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia.


The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit,Innovation and Change: Great Ceramics from the Ceramics Research Center, on view from May 28 through Sept. 5, 2010.

The exhibition highlights 79 masterworks by many of the leading international ceramic artists of our day, offering a panoramic survey of the potential of clay as an expressive art form. The Ceramics Research Center in Arizona contains one of the most exceptional collections of contemporary ceramics in the United States.

The art objects on view range from functional ware for everyday use to more expressive sculptural forms. The exhibition includes featured works by 70 prominent artists including: Rudy Autio (American, 1926-2007), whose highly sculptural works decorated with brightly colored figures earned him the nickname, “the Matisse of ceramics”; Peter Voulkos (American, 1924-2002), one of the early founders of the American ceramic movement, whose ceramic sculptures are famous for their visual weight, their freely formed construction, and their aggressive and energetic decoration; Robert Arneson (American, 1930-1992) – “father of the ceramic Funk Movement” – who in the early 1960s abandoned the traditional manufacture of functional ceramic objects in favor of using everyday objects to make confrontational statements; and Betty Woodman (American, born  1930), who integrates color and form into complex sculpture based on the historical traditions of pottery making, most notably that of ancient China and Italian majolica. One of the most influential ceramic artists of the 20th century, Woodman was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the field and honored as the first living woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006.

“The Abstract Expressionist”, 1985
Robert Arneson (1930-1992)

Karen Brosius, the Museum’s executive director says, “The museum is delighted to present this comprehensive exhibition of talented artists that provides the community and our visitors a satisfying discovery and enjoyment of the world of ceramics.”

Some of the artists started their careers when the studio movement in America was in its infancy. After World War II, there was renewed interest in the craft movement, with many universities establishing programs and more museums presenting their work. Influenced by European modernist design, as well as Asian pottery traditions, emerging ceramic pioneers created a new American aesthetic.

During the 1960s, the craft field matured and prospered. Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada were influential figures in the field, promulgating the value of functional pottery in everyday life. But an American revolution in clay began under the charismatic leadership of Peter Voulkos, who embraced and redefined the potential of clay as an innovative form of contemporary art, which embraced individual expression rather than following the crowd. Rules were broken and a new ceramic frontier was born.

The figure became a prominent foil for artistic expression in clay and witnessed a resurgence of interest in the 1960s, primarily from West Coast artists, including Robert Arneson and Viola Frey. During the 1970s and 1980s, another sea change took place. Many artists began using the vessel format to express painterly concerns or to convey personal stories, either as painted narration on the surface or as fully integrated form and design. With each successive generation, emerging artists have forged a new voice within the ceramic idiom. Borrowing freely from different time epochs and cultures, as well as being more fluid between art mediums, they are not limited by past traditions.

The showing in Columbia is part of a 10-city national tour over a three year period containing 79 ceramic vessels and sculptures from the collection of the Ceramics Research Center, Arizona State University Art Museum. The exhibition was curated by Peter Held, Curator of Ceramics and was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.

Innovation and Change: Great Ceramics from the Ceramics Research Center has been organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum located near Phoenix in Tempe, AZ.

From June 16 throu September 19,  2010, the Museum will also present,SC6: Six South Carolina Innovators in Clay.

Drawn from public and private collections, six innovative ceramic artists who are, or have been active in South Carolina are featured in this Gallery 15 installation. The works illustrate a diverse range of technique, glazes and forms for which the artists are best known. Featured artists include: Russell Biles, from Greenville, whose figural sculptures are deeply laden with social and political commentary; Jim Connell, whose sinuous vessels are decorated with elaborate glazes, many of which are inspired by ancient Chinese ceramics; Georgia Henrietta Harris, a member of the Catawba Nation, who is largely credited with reviving the Catawba pottery tradition; Peter Lenzo, whose technically complex sculptures recall the 19th century Southern “face jug” tradition yet remain completely unique; Ron Meyers, whose functional ceramics are brightly slip-painted in a gestural, expressionistic style that can be both provocative and confrontational; and Virginia Scotchie, current chair of the ceramics department at USC, who incorporates familiar shapes when creating her vessels that possess complex and luminous glazes.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at  803/799-2810 or visit (

Columbia Design League Launches New Public Art Initiative March 5 – 6, 2010 in Columbia, SC, with Teri Tynes

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

We received this press release at Carolina Arts about an interesting event to be held in Columbia, SC – focused around Teri Tynes – an old friend (she’s not old) and one of the bloggers we follow on a regular basis. In fact, after seeing Tynes’ blog I decided to jump into the blogging game. One day I hope this blog will look as good as her’s does.

Here it is:

Columbia, SC – The Columbia Design League, an affiliate membership group of the Columbia Museum of Art, launches a new public art initiative with Teri Tynes, former Columbia arts writer, gallery director and current New York City blogger. Tynes leads a thought-provoking discussion on Friday, March 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the soon-to-be-renovated Fox Theater on Main Street. She guides a conversation about ways in which all people, not just artists, relate to their urban environment. Citing examples from New York and Columbia, Tynes identifies the elements that create successful urban spaces. This event is $5 or free for Design League members.

At this event the Columbia Design League will announce a competition for art in public spaces called  “Play with Your City.”  The competition is open to everyone, not just artists, but to all those who think creatively.  The Design League will select a site for the project in the downtown area that has potential for creative growth.

The “Play with Your City” project invites everyone to think about public spaces in novel ways. This project is not about creating art and putting it in a space. This project asks people to fool around, think creatively and produce something that will improve the downtown experience.

Tynes leads an interactive walk on Main Street on Saturday, March 6 at noon, beginning at the Fox Theater. Participants are asked to bring a notebook, sketchbook, or camera so they can document what they see with words, sketches, or photos that Tynes will incorporate into a Web site. This event is free.

Tynes, the former director of City Art in Columbia, is now the creator and writer of the award-winning blog, Walking Off the Big Apple, a strolling guide to New York arts and culture. She has published articles forArtPapers, The Dallas Morning News, Independent Film & Video Monthlyand is the author of several contemporary art catalog essays. She is managing editor for The Moving Image, a journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists.

For more information, visit (

Photography Rules at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

We received a press release from the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, about a new attendance record set by one of their recent exhibitions – a photography exhibit of the works of Ansel Adams.


There was a time when fine art photographers had to listen to other artists claim that photography wasn’t really an art form. Well, I agree in principle in that no art medium – painting, sculpture, music, dance, etc. is art for art sake on its own. It takes a creative person to make art – no matter what tool or medium they work in. So, not all photography is art.
Here’s the press release:

The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, set a daily attendance record of 2,006 visitors from noon until 5pm, on Jan. 17, 2010, which was a free admission day courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of SC. Sunday was the last day for the popular exhibition, Ansel Adams: Masterworks, which opened Oct. 23, 2009 and featured many of Adams’ most famous and best-loved photographs that encompass the full scope of his work.

The exhibition attracted many people from outside the greater Columbia area generating strong economic activity for the city. Ten percent of visitors last Sunday were from outside of South Carolina and 55 percent were from outside Richland County.

“We are so pleased that this exhibition attracted such a large audience from outside the city and county, which has a direct and positive effect on improving the vitality of Main Street,” executive director Karen Brosius said. “Our exhibitions and educational programs bring thousands of people to the city center each year, which has an important economic impact as well.”

The Museum’s previous daily attendance record was 1,590 visitors during the Turner to Cézanne exhibition, which was on view Mar. 6 – June 7, 2009.

For further information visit (

You can read what I had to say about the Ansel Adams exhibit at this link.

I must say this might be a case of comparing apples with oranges unless the record attendance day for the Turner to Cézanne exhibition was on a free admission day also. But, either way it’s nice to know, as a former photographer, that the folks in Columbia and elsewhere liked Adams’ works more. I didn’t get to see the Turner to Cézanne exhibition so I can’t make a judgment myself, but I surely liked the Ansel Adams exhibit.

Some Information about SC’s Verner Awards and its Gala Event

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

After my first posting about the opportunity for SC’s visual artists to participate in an art auction during the Gala for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards – I got some inquiries, comments and it started me thinking. That can’t be good!

The Verner Award

So here is some info I found on the pages for the SC Arts Foundation on the SC Arts Commission’s website. Hopefully this will give folks some more info about this Award and the events associated with it.

The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards

To recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina, the Arts Commission annually presents the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts. These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. In 1980, the Verner Awards took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”

The symbol of the awards is a hand-crafted bronze statue, designed by Columbia-based artist Jean McWhorter, and presented to each recipient.

A diverse committee, appointed by the SCAC Board of Commissioners and made up of members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and makes recommendations to the Board for final approval.

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner achieved an international reputation for her etchings and pastels, many of which capture the spirit of the South Carolina Low Country. She was also a teacher, writer and historian. Throughout her 96 years, Mrs. Verner traveled extensively through Europe and the Orient. Drawings of South Carolina residences, churches and street-life portraits are Verner trademarks recognized throughout the world for their artistic merit and unique color hues. Mrs. Verner’s studio, located on Tradd Street in Charleston, is open to visitors as a living memorial to this outstanding South Carolinian.

South Carolina Arts Gala

Join the South Carolina Arts Foundation May 6 to celebrate the pillars of South Carolina’s arts community with celebrity artists, a fabulous art auction, delicious food and more!

Special guests will include Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Pat Conroy and Jonathan Green.

Best-selling author Pat Conroy has published five novels, including his most recent, “South of Broad,” named for his favorite city, Charleston. Celebrated artist Jonathan Green is best known for depicting the people and landscapes of the Lowcountry. His work has been exhibited in major venues throughout the nation and abroad.

The gala will include an art auction featuring works by some of South Carolina’s finest artists. A wide range of original one-of-a-kind artworks, including functional and non-functional craft, paintings and sculpture provide many choices for both seasoned and beginning collectors. A list of artists will be available at a later date.

Tickets are $50 per person and may be reserved online with a credit card or check. Reserve tickets at this link (

The South Carolina Arts Gala
Date: Thursday, May 6
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: The Columbia Museum of Art
Dress: Business attire
Tickets: $50 per person

Proceeds from this event benefit the South Carolina Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting the education and arts development programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission.

OK – that’s the end of the info found on the SC Arts Commission’s website– which has pages of info for the SC Arts Foundation – two groups I have a hard time keeping separate due to the fact that the address, phone, website and staff for the SC Arts Foundation – are found at the SC Arts Commission – including using SCAC staff members to send out their e-mails.


Even in the info offered about the Verner Awards – which is supposed to be a program of the SC Arts Foundation – the Arts Commission and its Board is all over it. By what I read I guess the Foundation handles the South Carolina Arts Gala. It’s their words not mine that adds to this confusion.

Also, in the info offered about Elizabeth O’Neill Verner – the Verner Studio on Tradd Street in Charleston hasn’t been open to the public for several years. But, I guess they didn’t know that. I don’t know everything either. Plus folks in Charleston like to call it the Lowcountry not Low Country. They used the word Lowcountry when describing Jonathan Green’s work.

Nominations for award winners in five other categories are also being taken (well, not any more) including: Arts in Education, Organization, Government, Business/Foundation, Individual, and Individual Artist. They don’t have a category for Gadfly – so I guess I’ll never get a Verner Award, but then again I don’t think Elizabeth O’Neill Verner would have either – they just used her reputation to give this award some standing.

The big question I have about this event and the gala is – What’s different about this year? Last year the awards and the gala was cancelled due to state budget cuts – cuts are still going on, and more are coming, but here we are again giving awards and having a party. I’m not even going to go into the art auction thing – that would take too long and it’s meaningless to me – I’m not an artist being asked to help support this event.

Art auctions are the problem of artists – if they don’t like them they don’t have to participate, but can they live with the phrase found in the info about the South Carolina Arts Gala – “The gala will include an art auction featuring works by some of South Carolina’s finest artists.” There’s the rub.

But, again – where has the money come from to do the Verner Awards and the Gala – that wasn’t there last year? And, how can it be there this year with even more cuts over the past year and more coming?

In the journalistic investigating world – the best plan is to follow the money, but good luck to anyone interested in doing that with these two groups. I’m wondering if the difference between last year and this year lies with the new art auction at the Gala, the Gala itself, or a SC business who wants to receive a Verner Award and is willing or has made a donation to the SC Arts Foundation to make it possible. I don’t know, but it makes me wonder where the money is coming from.

And, this is what the South Carolina Arts Foundation says they are on the SC Arts Commission’s website.

“Established in 1972, the S.C. Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of the Palmetto State. Throughout its history, the SCAF has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community in South Carolina. The organization is led by a diverse board of directors comprised of statewide business and civic leaders, artists, educators and others interested in supporting the rich variety of artistic expression found in the Palmetto State.”

I’m not sure another art auction falls into the – recognizing, encouraging and supporting – categories – nor is it a very creative way for the business community and private citizens to contribute to the arts.

SC Arts Foundation in Columbia, SC, Seeks Artworks for 2010 SC Art Auction

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I received this e-mail from the SC Arts Commission today about a call for artists to submit works for an “art auction” to be held during this year’s gala celebrating the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards. In the past, at least to my memory, there has been an art sale of selected works during the gala – with the idea of giving SC’s visual artists exposure to the high end audience attending this gala, but now SC’s artists are being presented with another auction opportunity. This is not quite the same opportunity as a sale – even though in the past – artists were asked to place a lower than normal price on their works.

I’m not making a judgment here – I’m just pointing out the difference from past opportunities compared to this one. We’re lucky a public call is being made at all, since that was not always the policy – select artists were just invited to participate in the past.

And, again, I appreciate the Art Commission sending me this notice (It’s nice to be back on the media list.) so I can turn it over to my readers, but I hope they don’t mind the extra historical info provided. It may be more than they get with other media outlets, but that’s what you get with Carolina Arts – a wealth of history about the region’s visual arts. You can see details about the auction at the link offered by the Foundation – they’re very up front about this opportunity.

Here’s the press release:


Verner Award

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Foundation seeks excellent quality artwork to include in the South Carolina Art Auction, the centerpiece of the 2010 South Carolina Arts Gala, an evening celebration of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts on Thursday, May 6 at the Columbia Museum of Art. Interested artists should submit the following by Feb. 22 to Art Auction, S.C. Arts Foundation, 1800 Gervais Street, Columbia, S.C., 29201:

- DVD or CD-ROM containing up to 10 images in a jpeg format with a maximum resolution at or less than 1024 x 768 pixels of representative or available works.
– Checklist including title, date, medium, size and price
– Resume or bio
– Artist statement (not to exceed 250 words)
– Self-addressed stamped envelope for return of materials

Additional submission guidelines are available at ( or by calling 803/734-8696. A panel composed of members of the S.C. Arts Foundation and arts professionals will select the artwork for the auction. For more information, contact Harriett Green, 803/734-8762 or e-mail at (

About SCAF
Established in 1972, the S.C. Arts Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of South Carolina. Throughout its history, the SCAF has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state. The organization is led by a diverse board of directors comprised of statewide business and civic leaders, artists, educators and others interested in supporting the rich variety of artistic expression found in the Palmetto State. For more information, visit ( or call 803/734-8696.

A Trip to Columbia, SC, for One Special Gift and to See the Ansel Adams Exhibit

Monday, December 14th, 2009

On Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, the family made the two hour journey to Columbia, SC, to select a gift from One Eared Cow Glass. We have a trade agreement and we wanted to get something special, but at a reasonable price, for one Christmas gift. Of course we could have gotten a special gift of art just about anywhere in the Carolinas, but the word “trade” is key in this instance.

A trip to One Eared Cow Glass is always a delight, but getting three people to agree on a gift is always a challenge – and with so much to choose from – it can take awhile. I tend to spend more time watching the glass makers at work as I have a fast eye and it only takes me one trip around the gallery.



On this day, Mark Woodham, Tom Lockart, Ryan Crabtree, and a  fourth person, whose name I forgot to get, were working on making 50 ornamental balls – during this time of year – Christmas ornaments. What a dance of movement – dipping in the vat of 2300 degrees F molten glass, spinning the rod, adding color crystals, remelting, blowing out the ball shape, spinning and more spinning, more blowing and bingo – another Christmas ornament – at least after it cools down.



Who in Columbia won’t wake up to a handmade glass ornament from One Eared Cow Glass on Christmas morning? Maybe a few naughty folks. And, the really good folks will get maybe a glass bowl, a glass vase, or a colorful glass garden ornament.



If you haven’t gotten your glass gifts there yet – don’t worry – they’re making more everyday, right up to Christmas. That is when they’re not making more videos for YouTube. The latest video is about the making of a lighted glass and copper sculpture commissioned by the Riverbanks Zoo’s Botanical Gardens in Columbia in memory of Margot Rochester. The new video can be found at this link.

After viewing the new video check out This Is How We Roll on the same page if you haven’t already seen it, but do not pay any attention to the one made by someone associated with the Columbia Museum of Art. There is nothing wrong with the video – it’s the soundtrack from Appalachia that kills me – as if this studio in the heart of Columbia’s Upscale Vista area (our Capital City) was in some hollow, back around the bend – up over that there hill. The Museum, or who ever put that thing up on YouTube needs to take it down – for the Museum’s image alone and for the guys at One Eared Cow Glass. I’m not saying I want to hear ballet music instead, but listen to the music on the videos One Eared Cow has made and that’s more like it. Maybe someone thought they were doing these folks a favor in producing this video, but they’d be doing a bigger favor by taking it down and hiding it somewhere.

Check out the metal sculpture of a deer by Greg Fitzpatrick. I’m told he is an artist who is working under the radar in Columbia, yet so busy with commissions that he doesn’t have to worry about people knowing who he is and about the wonderful works he creates. That’s a nice problem to have, but being in the media – I’m telling. Find out what you can about this guy – he’s a wizard with metal.

metal sculpture by Greg Fitzpatrick

After all three of us finally made a decision on the gift, we were off to the Columbia Museum of Art to see the best Ansel Adams photographs – at least his favorites in the exhibit, Ansel Adams: Masterworks From the Collection of the Turtle Bay Exploration Center, Redding, CA, on view through Jan. 17, 2009.


This collection of 47 gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams (1902 -1984) represents a selection Adams made late in his life to serve as a representation of his life’s work and what he felt were his best images. Called “The Museum Set,” the full selection of 75 images reveals the importance Adams placed on the drama and splendor of natural environments. Included in Ansel Adams: Masterworks are many of Adams’ most famous and best-loved photographs that encompass the full scope of his work: elegant details of nature, architectural studies, portraits, and the breathtaking landscapes for which he is revered.

You can read an article about the exhibit at Carolina Arts Online at this link.

At one time in my life I wanted to be a photographer. At the time I couldn’t think of anything better to do than travel to some of our country’s most exotic natural landscapes and spend time trying to capture them in photographic images that would move folks to want to go see these places up close and personal – like Ansel Adams did. Adams was the man and he still is in many ways in my view.


I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to many of our western National Parks – pre-arts newspaper and its monthly deadlines. Nothing can replace the act of being there, but Adams’ photographs come darn close – even in black and white.

There is no use trying to describe the images presented. If I could write that well, I wouldn’t be doing this blog. You just have to go see the exhibit for yourself. And, this exhibit is an excellent opportunity to drag a friend with you who might not normally go to an art museum – as no one would not enjoy seeing these photographs.

The Museum Shop also has an excellent selection of Ansel Adams related items – great for holiday giving or for giving yourself – so you can have a little bit of Ansel Adams’ imagery with you on a daily basis.

We had a late lunch and headed back home arriving in time to still have some daylight left – although that Friday was one of the most wintery days in South Carolina – as was the whole weekend – wet, cold and gray. It was a perfect day for looking at glass and Ansel Adams photographs.

Oh yeah – what happened to my career as a nature photographer? Well, I came to Charleston and ran into a group of nature photographers who changed my mind – Tom Blagden, Jr., T.R. Richardson, John M. Moore, and Luke Platt. After hanging with them a few years and seeing the work they were producing made me think my future was in photo processing. But, that’s another story of a time long gone.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Offers Holiday Artisans’ Fair and Sale – Nov. 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The Columbia Museum of Art’s Museum Shop will hosts its largest ever annual Holiday Artisans’ Fair and Sale Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, from noon until 3pm. Twenty participating South Carolina artisans, including six new artists, showcase their latest work for sale in the Museum’s DuBose-Poston Reception Hall and Garden Terrace. Featured handcrafted offerings include jewelry, mosaic stones, pine needle baskets, woven scarves, sugar doll fairies, colorful art glass and more.


Admission is free to the Artisans’ Fair and Sale and museum galleries, including the exhibition, Ansel Adams: Masterworks, on view through Jan. 17, 2010. Galleries are open until 5pm.

Participating artists include: Vera Anderson, John Benton, Becky Blair, Clay Burnette, Libby Coynor, Melissa Crook, Karen Dickey, MaryAnne Ehasz, Steve Harrell, Patty Hatch, Caroline Hatchell, Toni Kelly, Alicia Leeke, Erin-Margaret Moize, Paul Moore, Cynthia Norton, Bohumila Owensby, Cindy Saad, Sabine Snykers and Kelly Wenner. For a list of artisans’ wares for sale during the fair, visit (

Complimentary gift-wrapping is available, and this year, shoppers have the convenience of a second checkout station for quick and easy purchasing.

Museum members receive an additional five percent off their regular Museum Shop discounts during the event and all purchases support the exhibitions and education programs at the Columbia Museum of Art. Memberships can be purchased online at (

For more information, call the Museum Shop at 803/343-2159 or you can always visit Carolina Arts Online where we have gallery listings and feature articles about the Columbia Museum of Art.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Reinstalls Collection

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I went to the Déjà View Day at the Columbia Museum of Art on July 18, 2009, for several reasons – it was free admission all day, for once you could take pictures in the museum, to do some research, and to see how different things would look – it’s been awhile since I’ve been there last. Yes, I missed the big blockbuster exhibit, Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales, which attracted over 46,000 people to the Museum.

I’ve got a few words for those who think America is into staycations this year – I-26 between I-95 and Columbia was almost a parking lot and traffic on I-95 wasn’t moving too fast either. People were on the move and there was no Carolina football game either, so I think some people are going on vacations.

Free admission is always an attraction to me, the Columbia Museum of Art just raised adult admission to $10 from $5 (since 2001), making them now the highest admission for an art museum in SC, but I’m sure the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, won’t be too far behind. They seem to think the way to attract more visitors is to raise admission prices. How’s that been working out for you? Of course the Museum offers free admission every Sunday and all members get in free.

Upon arrival I went upstairs right away and discovered my digital camera was going to be my pain in the rear of the day. Before leaving home I transferred all the photos I had on it to one of our computers, but must have done something wrong in the process. When I went to take a picture, the camera told me there was no memory space left. I’m like what are you talking about? My camera doesn’t really talk – it’s not an expensive model, but it also wasn’t making sense. So I was just going to have to manually delete all the images to clear the camera’s memory. I knew the files were on my computer – I looked at some of them before I left home. Houston, we have a problem! I couldn’t find any old files on the camera to delete and it wouldn’t let me take any more as there was no memory space and the instructions were in the car to reduce my carry load. Darn, no pictures.

I used to be a photographer. I made a good living in photography, but lately photography has been my curse. Either I forget to take my camera with me, end up talking with someone instead of taking photos, or the camera doesn’t function properly.

Oh great photography spirits – forgive me for abandoning you. I swear when I retire I’m going to get a new battery for my Nikkormat. Give me another chance! Of course I hope that battery is still available then – whenever that is.

So, it’s another blog posting without much or any visual entries – sorry.

Ok, we’re back upstairs at the Museum. Things looked great. I couldn’t really tell if that much was changed, new or what. But, I’m the same when we move furniture around in a room of the house – instantly I can’t remember how it was arranged before. At the same time the impression it gave me was that new car smell. I’m sure even regular viewers could find something new, even if a lot of the works were the same. And, it’s my understanding that a lot of new items have been added. Besides this is one of the few art museums in SC where you can see such a large collection of older works from Europe and the rest of the world.

But, I have to confess, I’m not that much into older works. I’ve seen my fair share of masterworks in Chicago and Washington, DC. I’m not that much into art history. But, every art student and artist in SC should be making regular trips to the Columbia Museum of Art and the art museum and gallery at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, to see these kinds of works. The same goes for other folks in the region who have never seen works found most of the time in art history books. It’s amazing that many have survived so long and museum folks have put a lot of effort into keeping them in shape so you could take a look back in history through art. It won’t kill you – believe me.

Many of these works upstairs at the Columbia Museum of Art are from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Just imagine all those times I spent my nickles and dimes on toys made in Japan at the Kress store in my hometown – some of those profits were going into masterworks of art. It is a small world.

I spent amost an hour upstairs so I did my duty.

I was also at the Museum to get the current names of all the different gallery spaces. I have a problem with institutions that sell names of gallery spaces for major donations and then slowly abandon the use of those names in publicity. I noticed that the new gallery guide the Museum was handing out did not give the names of the sponsors of these gallery spaces. And, there is no space in the Columbia Museum of Art that doesn’t have the name of a sponsor on it – except maybe the restrooms. They might – I just didn’t notice in the one I checked out. So, inside the Museum these people get their due credit, but it’s outside the Museum where things tend to fall off. Long names of spaces are shortened or not offered at all in press release about exhibitions.

I don’t think that’s fair. Look, I’m not looking to take up more space in the paper, but these people who gave this money expected that they would get credit for it – always and forever. That’s what I would expect for such a donation. So, at the end of this entry I’m  going to list all those gallery names.

Now, one of the treats for me was in the only gallery space upstairs which offers changing exhibits, number G15 on the gallery guide or as I like to think of it as the Mamie and William Andrew Treadway, Jr. Gallery, which is displaying the exhibition, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg: 20th Century Masters in the Collection, on view through Oct. 4, 2009. The PR folks at the Museum did include the proper gallery space’s name with that press release.

This exhibit was more like it – for me. The exhibit, although small, showed some of the works the Museum has in its collection by these two artists, with a very informative text panel to go with it. Johns is a SC native, which is always a point to be made. It is possible to come from SC and become about as big as you can get in the art world. Which is a good opportunity to mention that the Gibbes Museum of Art will be presenting the exhibit,Brian Rutenberg: Tidesong, from Oct. 23 – Jan. 10, 2010. Rutenberg may be SC’s next homegrown artists to find big fame in New York City. He’s big, but I’m talking Johns big.

Now, before I head downstairs, I must mention that the Museum’s new gallery guide does offer a little education about labels on the artworks on display – explaining what that info is all about. Bits of education like this can always help and it was offered in a non-condescending way. People get so uptight about things – asking or not asking what might seem like stupid questions, when on the other hand the folks at the Museum – any museum wants you to ask and enjoy your stay and wants you to come back and learn more.

Downstairs in the Lipscomb Family Galleries, (not mentioned in the PR we received on this exhibit) was the exhibition, Cleve Gray: Man and Nature, featuring a 30-year retrospective of noted American painter Cleve Gray, on view through Sept. 27, 2009. I was blown away by this exhibit. And, here I have to apologize for not being able to print our paper in full color, not exactly in my control, but nonetheless the ad we have been running for this exhibit does just not cut it in black and white.


Man and Nature #1, 1980, acrylic on canvas, 100″ x 65″


Zen Gardens #116, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 68″ x 70″


Both, 1979, acrylic on canvas, 69″ x 44″


Diana and Actaeon, 1989, acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 70″

I’m used to this factor after all these years and always tell people – if you think what you see in black in white is in anyway interesting – wait till you see it in person. Perhaps if we added  ads for beer and strip clubs like some other publications we could do color, but I’m not there yet, and I’m not sure I ever will be.

If you like abstract art – big abstract paintings – go see this exhibit. Without photos – that’s about all I can say. Check out our June article about this exhibit at Carolina Arts Online.

Now, you might be wondering why I just didn’t go back to my car and read the instructions to see what was wrong with my camera. I was nearing my two hour limit on my parking meter, but the instructions didn’t offer any help and we’ve yet to figure what has happened. If I could have gotten it to work – I would have returned for another two hours to take photos – admission was free all day.

Next to the Gray exhibit were two more rooms of contemporary art in the Dawn Helfont Christopher Galleries. There was some really interesting works there, but I soon started thinking that many of the examples of the work on display could have been works by SC artists. These were works by big name artists from the Museum’s collection which would be on display for some time, but I think just as impressive works could have been offered by artists from our state.

Upstairs there is a small gallery space, one of the smallest in the Museum which displays a few works by SC artists or regional artists. The space G10a – Southern Traditions – in the guide, but which is actually the BB&T Gallery, has works by Edmund Yaghijan, Mary Jackson, William Aiken Walker, Charles Fraser, among others, but I would have liked to have seen more works by SC’s better artists in the downstairs contemporary display.

I know, this is not what art museums’ say they are all about, but how could it hurt to sprinkle in a few local works as long as they are of the same quality. Not all the works in these two gallery spaces were what I would call – household names. Maybe they are to some, but I bet most there that Saturday wouldn’t know who they were.

I’ve seen more works by SC’s contemporary artists on view at the Mint Museum of Art. Is this the – you’re nobody in your own area factor? Well, it’s no big deal – all was enjoyable and that’s another battle for another day.

On my way out of the Museum I ran into Kristina Montvidas Kutkus, an artist who a long time ago used to write reviews for Carolina Arts and Lynne Riding, an abstract painter, both from Charleston, SC. Both have been art instructors at the College of Charleston and Riding now teaches at the Art Institute of Charleston. They were enjoying the Cleve Gray exhibit and were headed upstairs – also concerned about their parking meter so we didn’t get to talk much.

But as I was leaving I had to wonder – I keep running into folks who used to write reviews for us at exhibits around the state. I wish they were still writing for Carolina Arts, but like color we have had to go without reviews – it’s the stupid economy and the economy in the visual arts has been bad for the last eight years. Now, what happened in our country over the last eight years?

Well, on the two plus hour drive home – I-26 was still a slow moving parking lot – I was still struck by this nagging thought that here I have an arts newspaper, people who are qualified art reviewers and good writers are still seeing exhibits throughout the area, but we can’t afford them and they would like to be paid for their efforts. Some are getting some exposure in local alternative weekly newspaper (the kind with beer ads and ads for strip clubs), but not enough reviews are being done of art exhibits taking place in SC. If only there was some statewide organization that’s purpose was to help the art community out in providing such a needed and wanted service – a group who in planning for the future said this is a need in the art community – a group with funding sources. Well anyway – wishing and hoping won’t get you very far and eventually I was back in Bonneau, SC – land of good water, so I’m told.

Gallery Spaces at the Columbia Museum of Art
G1 – Ray Taylor Fair Gallery – Ancient
G2 – Helen and Joseph Walker, Jr. Gallery – Late Medieval and Early Renaissance
G3 – Herbert – Hart Gallery – Renaissance
G4 – First Citizens Bank Gallery – High Renaissance
G5 – Wachovia Gallery (may soon change to Well Fargo) – Renaissance in Venice
G5a – South Trust Bank Gallery – Mannerism
G6 – SCANA Gallery – 18th c. European
G7 – John Cliffton and Francis Bell Judy Gallery – 17th c. Baroque
G8 – UPS Gallery – Asian
G8a – NBSC Gallery – China Trade
G9 – Callie and John Rainey Gallery – Neoclassicism
G10 – Lucy Hampton Bostick Gallery – Colonial and Federal America
G10a – BB&T Gallery – Southern Traditions
G11 – Carolina First Gallery – 19th c. American
G12 & 14 – Andrew Kerns Galleries – (12)Early 20th c. American and (14) 19th c. European
G13 – PYA/Monarch Gallery & Budweiser of Columbia Gallery – Art Glass
G15 – Mamie and William Andrew Treadway, Jr. Gallery – Changing Exhibitions

Lipscomb Family Galleries – Changing Exhibitions
Dawn Helfont Christopher Galleries – Modern and Contemporary
Caroline Guignard Gallery – Recent Acquisitions

P.S. The digital camera is running again after Carolina Arts‘ technical adviser and my better half, Linda fixed it and she was able to download some images by Cleve Gray, not exactly the ones I would have liked to show, from the Columbia Museum of Art‘s website.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Invites You to Déjà View Day – July 18, 2009

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Invites You to Déjà View Day – July 18, 2009. Wait! That sounds familiar. Actually, it’s “Déjà View Day: Rediscover The Museum Collection”. On July 18, 2009, from 10am-2pm, the Columbia Museum of Art will proudly unveils its art collection in newly re-installed galleries for the first time since 1998. Experience 1,000 years in a new light! Enjoy gallery talks, slide-illustrated lectures, new cell phone tours and hands-on art projects for the family! And, it’s all free – admission, lectures, activities – everything. That means you’ll have plenty of money to spend at the Museum’s Gift Shop.


The Museum went through a major redesign for the recent blockbuster exhibit, Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales, which attracted over 46,000 people to the Museum.

The day’s schedule is: at 10am – Ribbon Cutting and Opening Words from elected officials and executive director Karen Brosius; 10:30am – Passport to Art open studio drop-in for families; 11am – American Art lecture by Dr. Todd Herman, chief curator and curator of European Arts; noon – Gallery Talk: Highlights from the Collection (paintings) by Dr. Todd Herman; and at 1pm – Gallery Talk: Highlights from the Collection (decorative arts) by Brian Lang, associate curator of decorative arts.

Say, did you notice there is only 30 minutes between Opening Words by elected officials – good luck with that.

As an added bonus, photography and filming inside the Museum will also be permitted. You can’t do that everyday in a museum.

While you are there you can also check out the exhibitions: Cleve Gray: Man and Nature, featuring a 30-year retrospective of noted American painter Cleve Gray, on view through Sept. 27, 2009, and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg: 20th Century Masters in the Collection, on view through Oct. 4, 2009.

And, like most episodes of Déjà View, admission will be free again on Sunday July 19, 2009, from noon-5pm.

The re-installation of the galleries is made possible by a leadership gift from the City of Forest Acres, with additional funding provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Lectures are part of the Humanities American Lecture Series sponsored by the Humanities Council of South Carolina.

And, as always, if you are traveling to Columbia from somewhere else, I would also recommend that you visit some of the commercial galleries in Columbia. You can find info about them in our SC Commercial Gallery listings on Carolina Arts Online.

And, in case you were wondering – Yes, the Museum is fully air-conditioned. That’s hours free of that Carolina sun.

The Columbia Museum of Art is located at 1515 Main Street in downtown Columbia, SC. For further information call 803/799-2810 or visit (