Frozen Ghosts, Black Hole (2010) by Columbia, SC native Osamu Kobayashi, born 1984 - oil on canvas)  

"This is the simplest form / of current: Blue / moving through blue; / blue through purple; / the objects of desire / opening upon themselves / without us.” — "The Way Things Work", Jorie Graham


This is how it feels to walk through the Columbia Museum of Art's Big & Bold exhibit. The  exhibition room is flooded with bright color and light, every painting and sculpture seems iridescent.  For example, the painting Cape II by Sam Gilliam is a series of currents and pools of color, threading against and bleeding into one another.  The piece looms over spectators, several feet taller than any person.  Most art exhibits are curated under a certain theme, typically unified by the subject of the work or similarities between the artists.  However, Big & Bold isn’t a collection 20th century cigar paintings, or a display of Southern female photographers.  The work displayed was chosen for its emphasis on artistic concepts outside of the subject — every work seems to be an exploration of texture, luminosity, or medium.  The exhibit also seeks to answer the question: does size matter?


Cape II - Sam Gilliam (1970 acrylic on canvas)

Gilliam (born Tupelo, MS 1933) is a color field painter, meaning he poured acrylic paint directly onto an unprimed canvas.  Except, color field painting was too flat and literal for Gilliam.  He began bunching up the canvas, so that the paint flowed in the particular direction he wanted.  The canvas itself was used as art, adding newfound element — a more holistic, immersive feeling to the work.  Similarly, David Budd's painting Mars Black is a plain, all-black canvas, at least from afar.  However, closer, one can see that Budd was obsessed with what goes into making a painting, every little brush stroke.  It shows each layer of glimmering paint, each lifted scale, a city of texture.  This piece illustrates how much effort goes into each individual stroke, the entirety of the excoriating art-making process.  Each work in Big & Bold has a sense of innovation to it and a larger-than-life history.


For example, the most famous piece is inarguably a print from Andy Warhol’s Mao series.  This 1976 print displays Mao Zedong, the totalitarian Chinese ruler, in gaudy neon colors, lathered on his face like stage makeup.  A man named Bruno Bischofberger encouraged Warhol to paint a picture of the most important person in the 20th century, suggesting he do Albert Einstein.  However, Warhol chose to do Mao.  With that, he turned a man who campaigned against individualism and capitalism into a monument to artistry and consumerism.  Warhol rapidly reproduced the prints of Mao in different sizes and color schemes — the height of product availability, a harlequin oxymoron.


Phil III by Chuck Close

Big & Bold displays that size does matter.  It helps convey a feeling and a story.  A photorealist, Chuck Close’s Phil is a hyperrealistic, enormous portrait of the composer Philip Glass.  Close (born Monroe, WA, 1940) suffers from face blindness, a neurological disorder that affects the patient's ability to recognize faces.  The photograph confronts that troubling reality, and emphasized his ability to overcome his disorder, with two-dimensional, stationary faces being all that he can understand.  This struggle would not seem merely as pronounced if Phil could hang in a bathroom.  Amy Fichter’s illustration Breasts, a series of colorful lines that form a women’s boldly stuck-out chest, stands against the societal rejection of women’s bodies.  It wouldn’t be nearly as rebellious and unabashed if it could fold into a back pocket.  Most strikingly, however, Big & Bold shows how important certain things are to the artists, and what they want to say the loudest.


The exhibit runs through October 23, 2016 - for more info check out Columbia Museum of Art



25 The Columbia Museum of Art is currently displaying "Daufuskie Memories", an exhibition of photographs by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, being shown until August 7.  Through the late 70s and early 80s, Moutoussamy-Ashe explored the people, customs, and buildings of Daufuskie Island, a sea island off the coast of South Carolina.  The series is comprised entirely of black-and-white gelatin silver prints.


The island is famous for its rich preservation of Gullah as result of its tight-knit community and isolation from the mainland.  Gullah is a culture and language developing from the descendants of enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry region, a fusion of Africa and the English South.  In "Emily's Son at Nursery School During Naptime", a young boy is sprawled out on a mat beneath a stove. Hung up behind the stove is a sheet that reads, "moja — 1 // mbili — 2 // tatu — 3," and continues to ten.  The words are numbers in Swahili.  The stove is also labeled "stove", this time in English.  On the other side of the room, propped against the wall, is a Dr. Seuss-themed corn-hole board.  The Daufuskie islanders are suspended between two worlds, yet still largely separate, wedged between the stove and the wall.



The photos display a wide range of activities, each with its own motion, emotion, and composition of light.  "Shrimper Pulling in his Line" shows a young man at work, dressed in a striped shirt and a bucket hat, pulling a net onboard a ship.  Fishing was the nucleus of the island, a staple at the dinner table and the main sector of the economy.  The island was also deeply religious, and home to the First Union African Baptist Church.  Several photos — of weddings, young piano players, a woman fixing her daughter's shoes — feature the starkly white, thin-pillared church.  The western influence on faith becomes undeniable in "Susie Standing Next to a Holy Picture", where a woman tightly smiles next to a picture of an unrealistically Caucasian Jesus.


There are pictures of people at funerals, on oxcarts, and drawing water from cast iron hand pumps.  There are scenes of boats in winter, of children buried in each other's arms.  However, the vast number of photographs are of just of people — mid-sentence, smoking cigarettes, gazing deeply back at the viewer.  Moutoussamy-Ashe emphasizes the roles of both human interaction and solitude throughout her collection, reminding the viewer that everyone is so much more than a single action the camera catches them in.



Moutoussamy-Ashe captures these lives in an incredible transition and tragic disintegration.  In the early 60s, Daufuskie islanders started to sell their land to private corporations and disperse throughout the mainland.  Moutoussamy-Ashe caught the last historical glimpses of the island before it became known for its 20-hole golf course and its members-only residential club.  The photographs hold a spirit and landscape that has been widely gentrified in the 21st century.  The photographer herself spoke on the subject, "because the Daufuskie I photographed no longer exist, I know now that these photos are an invaluable archive for the islanders and greater American society."

Girls Rock the Block at First Thursday by Ony Ratsimbaharison

13318762_10104053847049937_1213391295_n On Thursday June 2 at 6 pm, Girls Rock Columbia will host a block party at Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art. The event, called Girls Rock the Block will be held as part of First Thursday on Main, Columbia’s monthly arts event on Main Street. It’ll be a free event with live music and food by the Wurst Wagen. All proceeds will go to benefit Girls Rock Columbia, so that they can continue to enrich the lives of our community’s youth.

If you haven’t heard, Girls Rock Columbia is our local chapter of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance (GRCA), which is an international coalition of organizations that aims to empower women and girls through music education, to foster confidence and self-esteem. GRCA was founded in 2007 in Portland, OR, and now has over 60 camps worldwide.

This will be Columbia’s 4th annual Girls Rock Camp, and it will be bigger than ever. I spoke with Mollie Williamson, executive director of Girls Rock Columbia, about this event and all of the organization’s exciting developments.

Mollie Williamson working one-on-one with a young rock impresario

Instead of the usual one-week camp they’ve had in the past, this year Girls Rock Columbia will launch its two-week teen leadership program, where teens ages 13-17 will have camp the first week and return as teen leaders for the general camp the following week, which is for campers ages 8-12.

“They’ll be acting as peer mentors—repairing gear, facilitating workshops, and just largely contributing to things running smoothly,” Mollie said. “We’re super excited to give them the opportunity to lead!”

Girls Rock Columbia has also started an internship program this year and implemented their first board of directors in January. The camp itself has also grown; there will be 24 teen campers in the first week, and 84 during the general session, a huge jump from the original 17 campers its first year. In the past, campers were offered 10 workshops, and this year there will be 40.

With all these changes, Girls Rock needs as much help from the community as possible. The block party on Thursday is one way people can get involved, since proceeds will go to Girls Rock to help with programming. Live music will be performed by Jacksonville, FL electronic group Tomboi, and locals Can’t Kids and Paisley Marie, all of whom have been involved with Girls Rock.

“We’ll have a table at Girls Rock the Block, so stop by and shoot the breeze with us!” says Mollie.


For more information on Girls Rock Columbia and this fun event, check out

Columbia Museum of Art Wins National Medal for Museum and Library Service

CMA national medal Congratulations to the Columbia Museum of Art for winning the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor awarded to such an institution and, this year, awarded to none more deserving.

Those of us who have been around Columbia long enough remember when the art museum was some incommodious space where we only went on field trips if we were children and for very specific openings if we were adults. The art museum represented a type of art that didn't really have a place in our lives.

Yes, there were a few lesser-known pieces by better-known artists in which we felt a sense of municipal pride, and yes, many of us had our favorites in the museum's collection or a painting or two with which we enjoyed some special relationship. But even with the art we loved, we were bad lovers. There was nothing about the walls on which the art lived that invited us to visit. We approached the building carefully--like we were visiting the rich old lady down the street with our Ps and Qs at code yellow, careful to wipe our feet before entering, using our church voices or not speaking at all.

Let's call those The Bad Old Days. 

Few institutions experience the kind of renaissance CMA has realized over the past few years.

Where patrons once tiptoed through the galleries, today we celebrate in them. We gather there like a huge extended family and feel welcome within its walls. Rather than reverence we feel a sense of comfort and community and homeyness. We visit the spaces because it makes us feel good or we just need a fix of the art we know belongs to us. And it's not just the art currently hanging on its walls. Columbia Museum of Art has given us the art of Warhol and Leibovitz and O'Keeffe and Curran and more. By empowering our community with a working knowledge of art history and art appreciation Columbia Museum of Art has created a place in our lives for the art it exhibits and the place where it exhibits it - our museum home.

Again, congratulations to everyone at CMA for a honor so well deserved.

CMA Offers Ambitious Look at African-American Art via REMIX

CMA rock well
The Columbia Museum of Art opens a new year of programming by presenting a major exhibition featuring some of the most important artists of the 20th century and today.
REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art and its accompanying catalogue focus on work that reassembles and reconfigures prior sources from history and culture into new works of art. The 45 works in the show represent some of the most innovative and influential African-American artists including Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Romare Bearden, alongside contemporary superstars like Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, and Fahamu Pecou. Nine South Carolina artists are included such as Leo Twiggs, Michaela Pilar Brown, and Colin Quashie. This show is curated and organized by the CMA, which is its only venue.
The lively form of the works - paintings, sculpture, works on paper, video, and textiles - showcase diverse styles that explore the American experience. "In the face of our current divisive political climate, it is important to deconstruct the master narrative," says Jonell Logan, independent curator specializing in contemporary American art and REMIX essayist. "REMIXprovides us that opportunity - to include more voices in the conversation of history, identity, and the image - and to provide a truer picture of what our world, our society looks like."
The exhibition opens on Friday, February 5, and runs through May 3. The CMA is offering free admission to the exhibition during regular public hours on opening weekend (February 5 - 7), courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

REMIX Programs

Ongoing: February 5 - May 3
-         Guided tours every Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
-         TAP Multimedia Tour available on your own smart phone or on iPod Touch devices provided by the CMA.
-         Thirty-minute "Spark Tours" every Friday at 2:00 p.m.
-         We will also feature thematic Art Explorer Backpacks and baby guides that are tailored to the REMIX exhibition.
Evening for Educators with special guest REMIX Artist and Art Educator Willis "Bing" Davis
Wednesday, February 3 | 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
This is a free event at the Columbia Museum of Art for all South Carolina educators. It's the perfect opportunity to meet colleagues, enjoy light appetizers and libations, preview special exhibitions and upcoming programs, and enjoy gallery talks and creating works of art.Professional Development renewal credit forms available.
Willis "Bing" Davis is the founder and president of EbonNia Gallery and SHANGO: Center for the Study of African American Art & Culture, both located in Dayton, Ohio. Born in Greer, South Carolina, Bing has a master's degree in education from Miami University. He has been an important artist, teacher, lecturer and community leader for over 50 years. In 1997, he received the Ohio Art Educator of the Year Award, and in 2010 he was given a major career retrospective at the Dayton Art Institute and the University of Dayton.
REMIX Lecture: Jonell Logan
Friday, February 5 | Noon
Jonell Logan, independent curator and consultant specializing in contemporary American art, speaks about the themes that shape modern and contemporary African-American art. Free with membership or admission.
Arts & Draughts
Friday, February 5 | 7:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Art, drink, and be happy! Enjoy tastings of Catawba Brewing's White Zombie Ale from The Whig, live music, food trucks, REMIX-inspired art projects, DIY activities from Izms of Art, Richland Library, and What's Next Midlands, plus photo booths, scavenger hunts, short films from the Nickelodeon's past Indie Grits festivals, unique perspective tours by local artist and designer Dalvin Spann, remixed Shakespeare performances by Darion McCloud and NiA, and One Columbia with the Art-O-Mat. DJ Preach Jacobs provides the soundtrack for the evening. Presented by Cyberwoven. Sponsored by The Whig, WXRY, and Free Times. $9 / $5 for members or renew your membership that night and get in free.
Learn to Draw in a Day Workshop
Saturday, February 6 | 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Devote a day to drawing with master draughtswoman Mary Hendrix. Experiment with pencil, charcoal, conté crayon, and more as you examine the work of contemporary artists like Damond Howard and Whitfield Lovell in our REMIX exhibition and in the CMA collection. All materials included. $75 / $60 for members.
Printmaking REMIXED
Tuesdays and Thursdays, February 9, 11, 16, and 18 | 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Learn the finer points of printmaking in a four-night class that explores techniques like drypoint and incorporating gold leaf to create multimedia masterpieces with art educator Jimmy Hiller. These techniques date back to the days of Raphael and Rembrandt but are still being used by artists today. Explore the work of contemporary artists like Radcliffe Bailey and Kehinde Wiley featured in our REMIX exhibition and the CMA collection as you design, print, and assemble your own modern creations. All materials included. $250 / $200 for members.
Artist Salon: Damond Howard
Friday, February 12 | Noon
The artist salon series features gallery talks about a wide range of subjects, topics, and disciplines. These talks showcase the artwork on view at the CMA. In this salon, SC Artist Damond Howard discusses his work in REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art. Free with membership or admission. Sponsored in part through Leslie's Legacy Fund.
Sweet on CMA
Saturday, February 13 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.
Come have a lovely time at the fourth annual Sweet on CMA family fun event. Get creative at art stations, play the valentine bean bag toss, take the "Young at Heart" tour, try the "Two of a Kind" gallery hunt, and make art-inspired valentines. And don't miss Columbia Marionette Theatre's performance of Anansi the Spider at noon and 2:00 p.m. Free. Sponsored by Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers. Free.
*ArtBreak: An Exploration of African-American Art on View with USC History Professor Dr. Bobby Donaldson
Tuesday, February 23 | Café at 10:30 a.m. | Lecture at 11:00 a.m.
ArtBreak is a program that looks at art through a different lens. A speaker, typically from outside the art world, gives insight into their worldview by sharing their interpretation of works of art at the CMA. Begin your morning at 10:30 with coffee and pastries, and then enjoy the program at 11:00. Free with membership or admission. Sponsored in part through Leslie's Legacy Fund.
Gala 2016: In the Mix: From Vintage to Vogue
Saturday, March 5 | 7:00 p.m. - Midnight
The annual CMA Gala is a themed party that draws art lovers from across the Midlands. The 2016 Gala celebrates our major spring exhibition, REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art, in an evening filled with extraordinary cuisine, décor, and entertainment including Reggie Sullivan and His Music Machine, DJ Irv, and Life in Notes and Steps, original jazz and dance by Mark Rapp and Stephanie Wilkins. Tickets are $150 ($75 tax deductible).
Passport to Art: Mix It Up
Sunday, March 13 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.
This FREE drop-in studio program for families features thematic hands-on art projects and a family tour. Create, cut, and collage a masterpiece based on the artwork of Mickalene Thomas. Join us and get inspired at 1:00 p.m. with a tour of the galleries. Free.
*Lecture: Fahamu Pecou
Wednesday, March 16 | 6:00 p.m.
Fahamu Pecou, a popular artist featured in REMIX, presents an engaging lecture and answers questions about his works in which black masculinity, commercialism, and commodity are interwoven with hip hop theory. This talk gives visitors of all ages a chance to interact with the artist directly, just steps away from his incredible Rock.Well painting. The talk is followed by a book signing of the illustrated catalogue of the exhibition. $7 / $5 for members.
Gladys' Gang: Lost and Found
Wednesday, April 6 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
What is a 'found object' anyway? We'll delve into found objects - what they are and how can we use them in art. We'll read stories and explore the REMIX exhibition, searching for found objects, and then create our own spring sculptures in the studios with recycled materials. Participants (ages 2-5) and their adult companions explore art through the introduction of elementary art terms such as color, line, shape and texture during the Gladys' Gang series. This program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the art exploration theme. Free with registration.
*Theatre of the Oppressed
(First) Thursday, April 7 | 7:00 p.m.
As a part of Columbia's First Thursdays on Main, Shannon Ivey Jones leads an interactive storytelling performance that touches on issues raised in the REMIX exhibition. Free.
*Artist Salon: Leo Twiggs
Friday, April 8 | Noon
The artist salon series features gallery talks about a wide range of subjects, topics, and disciplines. These talks showcase the artwork on view at the CMA. This month, South Carolina Artist Leo Twiggs discusses his work in REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art. Free with admission or membership.
CMA Educator Workshop with REMIX Artist Damond Howard
Saturday, April 9 | 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Designed for small groups, in-depth educator workshops use the museum's art collection and exhibitions to introduce new ways of thinking about the curriculum and to show innovative teaching approaches. Each educator receives an illustrated teacher packet and a certificate of participation. $30 includes lunch.
Tour and Tasting
Sunday, May 1 | 6:00 p.m.
$65 / $55 for members
Enjoy the exhibition, REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art, with a guided tour on the last weekend of the show. Doug Aylard from Vino Garage furthers your wine education with a selection of American wines alongside light appetizers.

Columbia Museum of Art has a Busy September Planned


From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol's Famous Faces

On View in the Lipscomb Family Galleries through Sunday, September 13

The CMA presentsFrom Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol's Famous Faces, a thematically focused look at the artist's influential silkscreens and his interest in portraits.Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is central to the pop art movement and one of the best-known 20th-century American artists. From Marilyn to Mao uses 55 of Warhol's acclaimed portraits to explore pop art's tenet of the cult of celebrity, the idea that pop culture adores the famous simply because they are famous. Warhol exploited society's collective obsession with fame like no artist before or after him. The exhibition celebrates the Mao suite, an anonymous gift to the CMA of the complete set of 10 silkscreens Warhol created in 1972 of Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976.


Warhol first gained success as a commercial illustrator before becoming a world-renowned artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s-concepts he continued to examine throughout his career. His art forms a mirror of the rise of commercialism and the cult of personality. He was not a judge of his subjects as much as a talented impresario who brought thousands of people into the pantheon of fame, if only for fifteen minutes. Some, such as Marilyn Monroe, got a few more minutes.


In addition to Marilyn Monroe and Mao Zedong, the exhibition includes the faces of Judy Garland, Muhammad Ali, Sigmund Freud, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Albert Einstein, Annie Oakley, Theodore Roosevelt, Giorgio Armani, and Superman, as well as two self-portraits by Warhol, to name a few. The majority of the works outside of the CMA's Mao suite are loaned by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Penn. The CMA has also secured a partnership loan with Bank of America to borrow seven pieces from their collection. The run of the exhibition is filled with an array of related evening and daytime programs for adults and families.




On View in the Community Gallery through Sunday, September 27, 2015

Warhol interrogated the concept of identity, which remains at the core of the American experience. From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol's Famous Faces provides the broader community the opportunity to both appreciate the enduring qualities of his art and to question the nature of fame and identity. How do we understand fame and identity in relation to others or to our own sense of self? Can we, like certain celebrities, politicians, or artists, remake ourselves? How are these concepts a part of the 21st-century experience? The Identity exhibition, a community gallery show whose opening coincides with Arts & Draughts on August 14, attempts to address and perhaps offer answers to these broad questions. The CMA has invited four established Columbia artists - Michaela Pilar Brown, Ed Madden, Betsy Newman, and Alejandro García-Lemos, who have each chosen one or more artists to mentor. Together each group creates a work or installation that responds to the questions of identity raised in the Warhol exhibition.


The Art of Joseph Norman

On View in Gallery 15 through Sunday, January 10, 2016

African-American artist Joseph Norman is a Chicago native whose lithographs mesmerize the viewer with an exploration of dark human emotion and raw commentary on black life in America. The Art of Joseph Norman introduces two complete print portfolios: Out at Home: The Negro Baseball League, Volume I, and Patti's Little White Lies. While Norman's work is said to be concerned with social injustice, inequality, and conflict, it is equally about love, transformation, and self-reflection. T



Gallery Tour: From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol's Famous Faces

Saturday, September 5 & 12 | 1:00 p.m.

A guided tour provides an overview of the Gladdddthematically focused exhibition, From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol's Famous Faces, featuring 55 of Warhol's famous portraits to explore pop art's tenet of the cult of celebrity, the idea that pop culture adores the famous simply because they are famous. Free with membership or admission.


Gallery Tour: Highlights of the CMA Collection

Every Sunday | 2:00 p.m.


A guided tour provides an overview of European and American art in the CMA collection. This family-friendly tour features masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo from the Samuel H. Kress Collection and the American galleries.


Gladys' Gang: Join us for this popular series! Gladys' Gang is a free, early childhood arts and literacy program for ages 2-5 that focuses on preparing children for kindergarten. Using art as a guide, children and their adult caregivers enjoy story time and a visit to the galleries followed by a hands-on art project in the CMA studios. The program is held the first Wednesday of each month from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m.  Spaces are limited. Reserve your free spot in Gladys' Gang at


I'm a Little Teapot or Coffee Pot

Wednesday, September 2 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Join us for some stories and songs and visit to the galleries to find some tea and coffee pots followed by art time in the studios where we will work together to decorate a tea pot.


Baker and Baker presents: Beethoven Cello Sonatas with A.W. Duo

Friday, September 4, and Saturday, September 5

Doors at 6:00 p.m. | Concert at 7:00 p.m.

2015 is the year of Beethoven for the A.W. Duo-Alyona Aksyonova on piano and James Waldo on cello. During their two-night stint at the CMA, the duo plays the complete cello sonatas. In the spring of 2014, the duo went on its second regional tour of the southeast, during which their performance at Church of the Good Shepherd in Columbia, SC was recorded by SCETV South Carolina Public Radio. This past summer, the duo had its debut at Alice Tully Hall with the ICN International Music Festival and made its first appearance with the Highland-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina. Cash bar. Both nights: $25 / $20 for members / $5 per night for students. Single night: $15 / $12 for members.


About Face Drawing Sessions

Mondays, September 7 & 21: Topics vary | 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Tuesdays, September 8 & 22:

Portrait Drawing | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Figure Drawing | 7:15 - 9:15 p.m.

Looking for a supportive and friendly environment to hone your artistic skills? About Face Drawing Sessions are for you! There's no instructor, but there is a group of inspired artists, representing a wide range of abilities, who love to draw from the live model. Must be 18 or older to participate. Mondays: $12 / $10 for members / $5 for students. Tuesdays: $10 / $8 for members / $5 for students. Includes both sessions.


Passport to Art: Set the Table

Sunday, September 13 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.

Create a still life collage using a variety of different materials during this free drop-in open studio for families. Enjoy a self-guided tour or join the family-themed tour at 1:00 p.m. Free.


Dinner in White

Sunday, September 13

Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. | Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Based on the incredible Diner en Blanc events that have popped up in cities around the globe, Chef Ryan Whittaker and 116 Espresso and Wine Bar are excited to present their own Dinner in White here at the CMA. The museum transforms into Warhol's factory for a totally unique dining experience. Come dressed in all white and bring an item for Warhol-inspired table decoration; the table with the centerpiece that pops the most will win a prize basket. Enjoy cocktail hour in our mod '60's lounge, then indulge in a multiple-course dinner inspired by the works in the Warhol exhibition. All proceeds go toward supporting the CMA educational mission. $120 / $100 for members. See the CMA website for details on discounted pricing for groups of 4 or 8.


Contemporaries' Oktoberfest

Thursday, September 17 | 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Come and enjoy a fun-filled evening of music, brats, and beer. $20/$5 for Contemporaries members.


CMA Jazz on Main: Trumpeter & Vocalist Joe Gransden: Songs of Sinatra and Friends

Friday, September 18 | Doors 7:00 p.m. | Concert 7:30 p.m.

Clint Eastwood referred to Joe Gransden as "a young man with an old soul and a classic voice."  On September 18, Joe brings that classic voice (as well as some smoking trumpet playing) to the CMA as he kicks off the third season of the Jazz on Main concert series. A native of New York, Joe Gransden has become one of the premier performers in the Southeast.  On the heels of a new release entitled "Joe Gransden: Songs of Sinatra and Friends," Joe joins the Noel Freidline Trio for an evening of music from "ol' blue eyes" himself, as well as other Rat Pack era greats such as Dean Martin and Tony Bennett. Individual Tickets: $35 / $28 members / $5 students. Season Tickets: $140 / $100 members. Premier Table Seating: $300 for 6 guests & 2 bottles of wine, $200 for 4 guests and 1 bottle of wine. Purchase tickets at or (803) 799-2810. Presented by Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina.



Tuesday, September 22 | Café 10:30 a.m. | Lecture 11:00 a.m.- Noon

ArtBreak is a program that looks at art through a different lens. Each session features a speaker who gives insight into their worldview by sharing their interpretation of works of art at the CMA. This month, begin the morning at the museum with pastries and coffee sold at the pop-up café by Drip followed by a talk from Pam Bowers, USC professor of Studio Art, who discusses nature in art. Free with membership or admission.


En Plein Air Oil Painting Workshop

Saturday, September 26 | 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Join The CMA, Congaree Land Trust, and artist David Phillips at Goodwill Plantation for a unique art and history experience. $45 bring your own art supplies/$75 includes art supplies. Box lunch included. Information and registration: or 803-988-0000


Warhol Community Gallery Salon

Sunday, September 27 | Noon


The community gallery show, Identity, features artwork that responds to the questions of celebrity and identity raised in the Warhol exhibition.  The CMA welcomes two of the four Columbia artists, Michaela Pilar Brown and Ed Madden, along with the young artists they've chosen to mentor and collaborate with, to discuss their work.

"CMA Chamber Music on Main" Returns with Pianist Adam Neiman

Adam Neiman The Columbia Museum of Art presents the fourth concert in the 13th season of "CMA Chamber Music on Main"on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at 7:00 p.m., intimately set in the museum's DuBose-Poston Reception Hall. Artistic director and internationally acclaimed cellist Edward Arron hosts an evening of chamber music with the Columbia debut of a composition by American pianist Adam Neiman.


Neiman is hailed as one of the premiere pianists of his generation, praised for possessing a truly rare blend of power, bravura, imagination, sensitivity, and technical precision. He is described as "...a new genius of the piano, capable of obscuring the legacy of the legendary interpreters of our epoch" by the Italian newspaper Corriere dell'Umbria. Tuesday's concert features his 2013 composition for violin and piano.


Maria Bachmann on violin, Hsin-Yun Huang on viola, and Neiman join Arron to perform:

  • Franz Schubert - Adagio and Rondo Concertante in F Major for Piano Quartet, D. 487
  • Adam Neiman - Serenade for Violin and Piano
  • Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns - Piano Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 41
  • Antonín Dvořák - Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Opus 87


Final concert of the 2014-2015 on Tuesday, April 28.


Presented by U.S. Trust. $40 / $30 for members / $5 for students. All seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.


Happy hour at 6:00 p.m. Concert begins at 7:00 p.m. Museum shop and galleries open during happy hour.


For tickets and program information, visit

Arts & Draughts Friday Night w/ local brew - by Abby Davis

aad The 19th installment of Arts & Draughts is happening this Friday, February 6th, and you do not want to miss it. The Columbia Museum of Art will be filled with art, music, food, beer, entertainment, and the inevitable happiness that these things bring about.

River Rat Brewery will be offering tastings of their Broad River Red Ale. Phil Blair says, “This is the first time we’ve used a true local brewery and the response has been tremendous. I’m really looking forward to seeing people discovering it for the first time and seeing the brewery experience the program for the first time.” The Wurst Wagen, Bone-In Artisan Barbecue on Wheels, and The Belgian Waffle Truck, will provide the food.

There will be musical performances from Charlotte’s Sinners & Saints, Amigo, and Zack Joseph from Nashville. Blair says, “Our only real focus on the musical performances is quality; every act is handpicked by me with the goal of having the best show we can put together. I look for artists that aren’t oversaturated, that I think the diverse crowd will enjoy seeing and hearing, artists you don’t have to have any prior knowledge of, artists that are clearly talented and enjoyable.” The music will even extend outdoors with tunes provided by the Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul.

In addition to treats for your taste buds and ears, the event will feature docent-led tours, a puppet show by Lyon Hill, live chess in the galleries, screenings of Indie Grits Film Festival shorts, a scavenger hunt through the galleries, a Love-ly photo booth, creator space to make artful valentines, and even more.

Blair says, “We try to have as many interactive projects and as many galleries and gallery tours available as possible and partner with people doing cool things any chance we get. We really want people to be able to engage with the museum and the program in whatever way they enjoy most.” His favorite aspect of the event is “seeing the whole being more than the sum of the parts – Columbia embracing a real, diverse group of cultural components as one celebration.”

The event usually draws close to 1,000 people, but continues to expand. The last Arts & Draughts in November set an attendance record with close to 1,3000. Blair says, “Though it’s the 19th installment, it almost seems new. We’re looking forward to growing and adding different elements in the future. Now that it’s proven that Columbia really enjoys this event, it’s our duty to make it fresh and keep it interesting.”


Tickets are $8, $5 for members of the museum, and available at


-by Abby Davis

Get Osamu Kobayashi While You Can - Thursday night at 80808

Osamu Kobayashi  

The process of painting is a power struggle. I take my paintings one way; they want to go somewhere else. And when they go somewhere else; I drag them in another direction. In the end, the paintings usually wins.

My work is reductive in form, often compositionally centered, and employs a spontaneous and intuitive array of colors, shapes, and textures. Using these elements I create visual dualities: chance vs. control, organic vs. geometric, warm vs. cool, large vs. small, etc.

Like a good story, the elements that comprise each work push and pull off of each other, creating a unified structure that stays contained--but never becomes subdued--within its own parameters.

The aim is to create work with a sensation similar to that of a clear thought: the idea has its bases covered; there’s no room for argument. In reality, however, these paintings can never be clear thoughts; they are much more open than that. They are more of a confrontation: between what I desire to know and what I can never know entirely. -- Osamu Kobayashi


If you read the most recent issue of Jasper you know how proud we are of our native son Osamu Kobayashi whose visual arts career has already lifted off the launch pad, sparks flying, smoke roiling, and is making that last almost slo-mo ascent into space. Right now, we can shade our eyes against the brightness, but soon he'll be another one of those star-like satellites in the sky that we can identify by its placement and history, but no longer actually touch. (Unless we sneak in a visit with him when he comes home to see Shige and the rest of his family on one of those rare, super-artist holidays.)


Watch this video by Brian Harmon starring Columbia Museum of Art chief curator Will South as well as Osamu's very proud brother Shigeharu Kobayashi to learn more about Osamu's upcoming exhibit this Thursday, December 12th at Vista Studios Gallery 80808 at 808 Lady Street.

Don't miss a chance to meet and chat with Osamu while he's in Columbia.

See you Thursday night at this free Columbia arts event.

Read more about Osamu here.

CMA brings a Ceramics Workshop - Ladies Night Out (can dudes come, too?) - Arts & Draughts - Rahul Pophali concert at Baker & Baker

Columbia Museum of Art Adult Art School: Ceramics Workshop

Explore the expressive possibilities of hand-building and decorating functional earthenware pottery. Learn hand-building techniques using underglazes and slips to create a variety of surface textures and designs and how to successfully fire work. This two-day class is designed for all levels of experience with clay, and allows you to both create three-dimensional objects and address the issues inherent to decorating these forms. The objects you create from clay will become three-dimensional canvases on which you can explore your own personal style and artistic voice.

Instructor Kristina Stafford is currently working as education coordinator at the Columbia Museum of Art. Since earning her MFA from the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, she has also worked as a Professor of Art at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA, and Artist-in-Residence at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY. Stafford has work in galleries from South Carolina to New York and continues to enjoy an active studio process.

Saturday and Sunday, November 1 and 2, 2014

Noon - 4:00 p.m.

$100 / $80 for members.

And ...

cma ladies"Ladies' Night Out" is a celebration of women, fashion, and art, featuring fabulous food, local artisans selling their work, and the mind-blowing sounds of DJ Alejandro. (But we hope the dudes can come, too!)Guests can peruse wares and shop with vendors, whose offerings include scarves by Alicia Leeke, purses by Mary Catherine Kunze, and jewelry by Cindy Saad, among others. The CMA's deluxe gift-wrapping station will be available to beautifully package parcels. Attendees also have the opportunity to view the Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibition. Hors d'oeuvres are provided by Earth Fare and a cash bar will be available for wine, beer, and a specialty drink prepared just for the occasion.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

$10 / join or renew your membership that night and get in for free.

And ...

Another Great Arts & Draughts

cma a & d


The Columbia Museum of Art hosts the next Arts & Draughts on Friday, November 7, 2014. Art, drink, and be happy! Special thanks to our sponsors The Whig, WXRY, Jam Room, and Free Times.



The BANDS: •Stephanie Santana •Can't Kids •ET Anderson

The FOOD: •The Wurst Wagen •Bone-In Artisan Barbecue •Fair Food Truck


Enjoy a beer tasting of selections from Widmer Brewery of Portland, Oregon and Cash Bar provided by The Whig. •Widmer Brrr seasonal ale - a hoppy Northwest-style red ale •Widmer Hefeweizen •Widmer Alchemy Pale Ale

And MORE...

•Unique perspective tour: "A Queer Tour of the Gallery" led by USC Director of Women and Gender Studies and Jasper Literary Arts Editor, Dr. Ed Madden. •Exhibition Tours of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera led by Bauer Westeren. •Dance: Rockwell-inspired dance demo by the Richard Durlach and Breedlove dance team - (catch Durlach & Breedlove at the Nov, 21st JAY Awards ~ Big Apple Swing!) •Film screenings of The Norman Rockwell Code, a short film parody of The Da Vinci Code. •Dr. Sketchy's Live figure drawing sessions at 8:15 p.m. and 9:35 p.m. •Rockwell-Inspired Photo Booth •D.I.Y. Art projects •Interactive art •Scavenger hunts

Friday, November 7, 2014

7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

$8 / $5 for members / join or renew your membership that night and get in for free.

And ...

Baker & Baker Presents the Art of Music


The Columbia Museum of Art Hosts an Evening with Tabla Master Rahul Pophali



The Columbia Museum of Art hosts the next Baker & Baker Art of Music concert with tabla master Rahul Pophali on Sunday, November 9, at 6:00 p.m. Pophali is one of the most versatile tabla players in today's younger generation. A dazzling performer and an incessant innovator, he has carved a niche for himself in the world of percussion music.

"Tabla is the principal rhythm instrument in North Indian Classical Music," says Pophali. "It is widely used in different styles of Indian music and in fusion with world music today. The art of tabla-playing features spontaneous improvisations alongside renditions of traditional repertoire.

I believe my music is a journey, an adventure into the realm of sounds and rhythms. I draw inspiration from the audience and surroundings to fuel my creativity. I am looking forward to performing at the Columbia Museum of Art; a place replete with works of art will surely inspire the best out of me!"

Pophali began concert performances at an early age and, since then, has toured extensively in several countries in Europe and Asia. His desire to explore various possibilities with the tabla and an urge to experiment led him to perform with several reputed world, rock, flamenco, and jazz musicians across the globe. Passionate about spreading his art form, Pophali has conducted workshops and lecture/demonstration sessions for several institutions and music schools in India and Europe.

Sunday, November 9, 2014. Doors at 5:30 p.m. Galleries open. Concert at 6:00 p.m. $12 /

$10 for members / $5 for students

For more information on all these exciting CMA events and offerings, visit

Friday Night - It's the CAYs!

"Clara" by Doug McAbee Nothing pleases Jasper more than the opportunity to take notice of a local artist and be able to say, Congratulations – Well done! It’s even more exciting when there’s an award involved and it’s not just a certificate, but some ca-ching, as well! That’s why we’re looking forward to this Friday night, April 26th and the annual Contemporaries Artist of the Year celebration when, in addition to the grand prize of big bucks from the Contemporaries, Jasper will award our second annual State-of-the-Art Award (a certificate, a feature story in Jasper Magazine, and $200) to some talented local artist.

Last year's winner of the Jasper State-of-the-Art award was Doug McAbee for his sculpture Clara (above.) We profiled Doug in the most recent issue of Jasper Magazine.

Entries to the competition were adjudicated by a jury consisting of Dr. Will South, Tom Stanley, and Mary Walker. Our panel of judges is headed up once again this year by Chris Robinson, who, has taken the lead as Jasper's visual arts editor.

Awards include:

  • $2,500 Contemporaries' Artist of the Year (with partnership from Anne and Alex Postic)
  • $300 People's Choice Award
  • The Jasper "State-of-the-Art" award receives a $200 cash prize and a spread in a future issue of Jasper Magazine.

Please join us on Friday night for the CAY Celebration from 7 - 10 pm at the beautiful Columbia Museum of Art.


For more info check out the CAY Facebook page or go directly to the CAY website at the Columbia Museum of Art.



The Art Room Queen: Nancy Marine on the Runway

“My name is Ms. Marine! I am the Art Room Queen!” Nancy Marine awes the crowd with her fashion creations.  A competitor in the Columbia Design League’s annual fashion contest, Runaway Runway, Marine is a featured guest at this year’s “Meet the Designers: Runaway Runway” event, held at the Columbia Museum of Art. Tapping her boot on the stage, Marine demands that the technical assistant click to the next slide.

“Hit it,” says Marine, flicking her fuchsia-dyed bob with the back of her hand.  In the photographs, Marine is dressed as an art room warrior, pacing on a runway and roaring battle cries. Her warrior’s helmet sports a paintbrush Mohawk, and her mace is spiked with Elmer’s Glue-All caps.

Marine, 48, is an art teacher at Killian Elementary School in Richland County. Marine is single, and her only children are her art students. When she isn’t teaching, Marine enjoys urban line dancing, painting murals in her house and constructing outfits recycled from art supplies.

This will be Marine’s third consecutive year entering Columbia’s fashion competition  Runaway Runway, sponsored by Palmetto Clean Energy and held April 6.

The Event

Participants in Runaway Runway create and model outfits made from recycled materials to win prizes. The Columbia Design League’s official website states that Runaway Runway is intended to broaden the local community’s understanding of design and prove that environmentally-conscious clothing “can be fun, fabulous, fashionable and funky, too!”

Since 1992, Runaway Runway has grown, and in 2011, the show moved from 701 Whaley St. to a bigger venue at Columbia’s Township Auditorium. The Columbia Star reported that last year’s Runaway Runway, its 10th anniversary, attracted a crowd of over one thousand people.

This year’s lavish Runaway Runway after-party is funded by high-dollar sponsors, which range from Companion Global Healthcare, Inc. and Skirt! Magazine to organic alcohol companies American Harvest Distilling and Fetzer Vineyards.

The First Catwalk

Marine, a semifinalist in the last two Runaway Runways, lets loose her creativity at home. Her house is every bit as eccentric as she. A wooden zebra nests between the azalea bushes in her front yard, and the main hallway of her home features a collection of costume hats and dresses hung from nails.

Harry Potter trading cards line the baseboards of the walls.  Marine points to a full-length mirror painted as the Mirror of Erised. The mirror, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, shows a person his or her deepest desire.

She pushes the coats on her coat rack aside and points at the mirror’s reflection of the Sorcerer’s Stone, which she painted on the opposite wall.

“You can see it, but you can’t get to it,” says Marine.

Runaway Runway 2011 was not spared from Marine’s artistic frenzy.  Marine made a flapper’s outfit, complete with matching hat and purse, entirely out of Juicy Fruit wrappers. She decorated her shoes with chewed bubble gum that she retrieved from students.

“I heard about Runaway Runway, and I went to the last one at 701,” says Marine. “I was like, ‘this is cool—I can do this.’”

Marine hadn’t expected such a high level of craftsmanship from the other entries, such as first-place winner Miles Purvis’ Mad Hatter outfit, made from re-purposed cans, curtains and peacock feathers.

“I was blown away by how good they were,” says Marine. “I wasn’t even top three in my dressing room.”

Marine went on to wear her Juicy Fruit outfit to several Columbia Museum of Art events later that year.

“She was wearing the foil wrapper necklace and carrying the Juicy Fruit box purse for a members-only reception,” says Shirley McGuinness, a friend of Marine. “That's what I love about Nancy. She puts full passion in creating her work. That kind of passion is really rare, and it's great to see it on the runway and beyond.”

Juicy Fruit


Two for Two

Marine entered two outfits for Runaway Runway 2012: the art room warrior, which Marine christened AMortinka, and a woven paper dress called “Crayola64.”

AMortinka’s outfit, which Marine modeled herself, was made from leftover art supplies from Marine’s classes.  An Amazon-inspired chest piece featured a cone bra made from crayons.

“I’m very trial and error so I made, like, three sets of just the tits,” says Marine. “One was too small, one was too big, and being a schoolteacher in the summer, I would work for two or three hours in the morning, and then I could just put it away.”

Marine set the outfit aside for three months to refresh her creativity, then picked the project up again in fall 2011. She constructed an alter ego and back-story for her outfit. Her alter ego, AMortinka, was a warrior princess cursed for stealing a red Crayola crayon.

AMortinka, according to Marine, was her most time-consuming piece.

“It just grew and grew,"  says Marine. “When she has a name, now she has to have a font and has to have a logo, and she has to have a story, and it just grew and grew and became so in-depth that she’s really a real-life character, very real to me.”


Taking Project AMortinka to the next level wasn’t Marine’s decision.

“It took me,” says Marine. “It just took me there. I’m surprised I didn’t get a tattoo, to be honest.”

Marine’s alter ego graces the posters for Runaway Runway 2013.  Pictures of the snarling AMortinka are taped inside store windows throughout downtown Columbia’s Five Points and the Vista.

“Crayola64,” Marine’s second entry, was modeled by friend Karen Corbett. The two-piece outfit was made from student art projects, which Marine cut into strips and wove together. She melted crayons to create a neck piece and glued together empty crayon boxes and Crayola Classic marker caps to form a belt.

All three of Marine’s past entries have been featured at “Runaway Runway: Meet the Designers” events.

Third Turn

Marine will display her new alter-ego, PrismaGleana, on the Runaway Runway stage. A rainbow fairy, PrismaGleana, late in choosing her own fairy color, was left with white, says Marine. Being resourceful and environmentally conscious, PrismaGleana decided to collect and use the wasted bits of color left behind by other fairies.

PrismaGleana’s outfit features a bell skirt made from a patio umbrella, a handmade paper bodice studded with brass fasteners and a tiara of umbrella spokes and crayons. Marine is just as dedicated to this year’s design, and has made business cards, gifts of crayon jewelry, and a reliquary to advertise PrismaGleana.

Marine also made a reliquary for AMortinka. Inside the reliquary is a false bottom, holding the red crayon AMortinka was cursed for stealing and a folded piece of paper.

“Only the keeper of it knows the secret of it,” says Marine. She leans forward, her voice lowering to a whisper.

“AMortinka is not real. She is a legend. I created her.”

~ Giesela Lubecke, Jasper Intern






REVIEW -- Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940 - 1950 by Jeffrey Day

Some important things need to be said about the Mark Rothko exhibition that is both BY and AT the Columbia Museum of Art that don’t have much to do with the art. First let’s do the art in Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940 – 1950. And the art is very good indeed.

These 30 or so pieces reveal how the artist moved from figurative work to the large paintings of glowing blocks of color for which he is best known. The latter paintings make up only a tiny part of the exhibition, but the earlier works – influenced by dreams, mythology and showing the heavy influence of surrealism – are rewarding to offer those who love Rothko’s mature works, those familiar with his entire career and those who know nothing at all about him.

This compact and manageable exhibition reveals the artist’s journey through the decade that made Rothko Rothko with excellent examples of his work and a nearly perfect installation.

The show begins with a painting of three people from 1940 that few would guess was by Rothko. At first the work doesn’t seem to add much to the exhibition, but it’s important because of the number three. In the following paintings three figures are merged into one with distinct segmentations of heads, torsos and legs. These divisions eventually transform into three stacked blocks of color. Even when the body is long gone the body is still a good way to feel the power of the paintings – they provide a full body experience.


This exhibition shows the artist finding his way by experimenting with various approaches. The pieces from the first few years of the ‘40s are filled with scrawled lines of what look like fantastical creatures and plants, but at the same time are abstract. In 1946 the artist began creating with amorphous patches of color that became more spare as each month passed. No doubt Rothko’s actual process was more messy than this exhibition shows, but one has to admire how far the artist progressed in a decade – especially since he was already 37 when he started the journey. The museum has so keenly honed this exhibition it feels that one more or one less work would have ruined it.

The exhibition has the bonus of a sampling of works by Rothko’s colleagues Clyfford Still, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Theodoros Stamos and others that provide a perfect context. It’s also a treat to see a works by these artists who are just as rare in South Carolina as Rothko.

Rothko was a smart and well-educated man (he attended Yale), but he had little art training. One could never tell by looking at his art. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. What he had to say about his art – and all art – is another matter. Like several artists of the time, Rothko viewed art as a huge, transforming experience, but many of his pronouncements meant to be profound are preposterous. Even if a number of them are posted on the museum walls they take nothing away from the art.

Setting aside the art itself, The Decisive Decade is arguably the best and most important exhibition the museum has organized in its 60-year history. That though must be put in context; the museum has made great strides during the past decade in building its collection and expanding programming, but it has failed to organize significant exhibitions.

The museum has hosted many important exhibitions in recent years: Nature and the Grand American Vision: Masterpieces of the Hudson River School Painters, Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales, Material Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place, Julie Heffernan: Everything That Rises and I Heard a Voice: The Art of Lesley Dill. It created none of them.

Rothko changes that. Let’s hope this is the start of a new chapter for the museum as a place that organizes important exhibitions.

This was a very unlikely exhibition for a museum that owns no Rothkos and few works from this period of American art. The museum’s most significant holdings are in European art from 1400 to 1800 which would seem to be the place to look for a big self-generated exhibition. Even the curator who conceived of the Rothko show, Todd Herman, is a Renaissance expert.

Fortunately museum director Karen Brosius has well-connected colleagues in the museum world thanks to her years of funding art projects at the Philip Morris Companies. Among them is Earl Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art. (The museum also has a long connection with the National Gallery through its Renaissance and Baroque artworks – donations of those by the Kress Foundation in the 1940s and 1950s made the Columbia Museum and the National Gallery possible. Some of the art at the Columbia once belonged to the National Gallery.)

The Columbia Museum approached the National Gallery about a Rothko loan -- and with 1,000 Rothko works, the most by any single artist, the gallery has plenty from which to choose. The art museum started with the idea of a much smaller show, then seized the opportunity to create an exhibition that would not just show off an art star, but would add to scholarship on a period of the artist’s life that has been largely unexplored. (When Herman left the museum last year to become director of the Arkansas Art Center, new chief curator Will South – who is an expert in early 20th century American modern art – took the reins and guided the show to its wonderful fruition.)

With Skira Rizzoli Publications the museum has published an excellent catalog edited by University of South Carolina associate professor Bradford Collins (a feather in the cap of Collins and USC), with insightful essays by Collins, Herman, National Gallery contemporary and modern art curator Harry Cooper and others. The exhibition will travel to Ohio, Arkansas and Colorado putting the Columbia Museum in a much-deserved spotlight.

If the museum had organized an exhibition only half as good as this, it still would have been a milestone. For a museum with little expertise in the area to tackle an exhibition like this can only be called audacious. Or crazy. Or brilliantly imaginative. We’ll come down on the side of audacious and brilliant.

The Decisive Decade remains on display through Jan. 6.

-- Jeffrey Day

CMA's Design from the Collection -- a review by Jeffrey Day

As much as I like The Art of Seating, a show of 200 years of chairs at the Columbia Museum of Art, I was more excited to see what the museum would do with the companion design exhibition. For Design from the Collection, members of the museum affiliate group the Columbia Design League mined the museum collection for examples of good design. I feel a close connection to many of the objects in the exhibition, having had an opportunity to see many quite a few times and to remember when the museum acquired some.

When we think about museums, great paintings and sculptures first come to mind. The works in Design from the Collection are more prosaic – chairs, desks, teapots, dishes – but their functional origins and often humble material coupled with thoughtful and beautiful design provide a model for the possibilities of beauty in our daily life.

One piece I’m always happy to revisit is Danish designer Georg Jensen’s chocolate pot from 1930. The silver pot is seven-inches high with sleek lines and a low-set teak side handle and matching lid handle; the best way to describe it is charming. Another simple piece, a 1958 teapot by John Prip, is the made of stuff even more basic - pewter and plastic – which doesn’t prevent it from being a delight.


One piece I don’t recall seeing before is Gilbert Rohde’s dressing table from around 1940, but it has belonged to the museum for a decade and is certainly memorable. With its sleek, rounded lines this dressing table made of ebony veneer and quilted maple with a top of glass suspended by steel tubing looks like it could speed around one’s bedroom. It’s the perfect marriage of elegant modern design coupled with a high level of craftsmanship.

As companion to The Art of Seating, the exhibition appropriately has a lot of chairs; chairs that make you rethink chairs, really appreciate chairs, toss your stupid and ugly chairs. The earliest chair, and about the oldest work in the show, is a 1915 bent wood rocker by chair innovators Thonet. (The Austrian company’s chair No. 18 has been manufactured since 1876.) It has rockers and arms made of one continuous oval of bent wood. It is a marvelous melding of new technology, function and beauty – as are all the best pieces in the show.

Eero Saarinen is best known as the architect of the TWA terminal at JFK Airport in New York and the Dulles Airport main terminal, but he created furniture just as cool as those buildings. The exhibition contains two of his most iconic designs – the tulip chair and tulip table. (These were first manufactured in 1956, but like quite a few of the post-World War II furniture pieces these particular items were made a couple of decades later in response to a renewed appreciation of mid-century design.)

Among the other well-known designers represented in the show are Charles Eames and Ray Eames with a molded plywood chair from the 1940s, a cast aluminum and fabric chair from 1958 (along with the Rohde’s dressing table, it’s my favorite piece), a 1946 wooden slat bench by George Nelson, and a ‘40s carafe by Russell Wright. On the unknown end is Danish designer Poul Jeppesen’s modern, but warm and inviting wood and cane armchair from 1950.

Entering the exhibition through the Art of Seating, you’ll be greeted by pieces such as these. Near the end of the show you will wonder if you’ve wandered into another exhibition entirely. You’ll find works that fit firmly in the fine crafts category – glass, ceramics, basketry – as well as a few pieces that are simply sculpture. The exhibition text panels are also puzzling. Several are written with a personal point of view by committee members while others read like standard museum text although all are credited to committee member. These confusing turns may be the result of a committee-created exhibition – in this case it looks like the work of two committees that never met. Both these things badly undermine what is largely an excellent show.

On the plus side, the objects are creatively displayed – especially the chair perched atop platforms attached to the gallery walls. The exhibition is on display through July 29.


-- Jeffrey Day is a frequent contributor to Jasper and What Jasper Said, and the former senior arts writer for The State

Big Fun for Great Causes in Columbia Last Night

Jasper had a great time last night at two wonderful events supporting the arts in Columbia. We started our evening at 5 pm by arriving at the Columbia Museum of Art to select the Jasper Magazine State of the Art award for the Contemporaries Artist of the Year event. Many thanks to Jeffrey Day and Chris Robinson for serving on the panel of judges. It was not an easy choice. But after much deliberation we chose Doug McBee's Clara, pictured below, for its sense of elegance and fun.

Other stand out pieces included Jacob Olsen's Beginning to Understand II, pictured below. We loved the execution of this piece but were disappointed in its presentation. Chris was helpful in pointing out that a solid white piece of this style and size should be presented in pristine condition. Unfortunately Jacob's piece was marred in a few places and showing a bit of wear.

Chris was also impressed by the technique exhibited in The Sleeper, by Margaret Rose Smith, pictured below.

And, having just gotten turned on to the work of local artist David West, I was very much taken by his piece Disconnect below.

We might also mention that at least one of us from Jasper happily took home the piece below by Michael Pope and we look forward to installing it in our new pub room at Muddy Ford where the living room used to be.

After closing down the CAY event at 10, we had the pleasure of heading over the The Hunter Gatherer's 2nd Annual Arts Commission Fundraiser, magnanimously organized by local musician and service industry pro Henry Thomas. The house was packed with  arts supporters and artists and there were some really fantastic auction items. (Jasper took home passes to Indie Grits, tickets to the SC Arts Gala, and two signed books by Pat Conroy.)


And a good time was had by all!



Contemporaries' Artist of the Year Call for Entries

It’s that time of year again! Last year’s Contemporaries’ Artist of the Year soirée and silent auction put over $10,000 in the pockets of South Carolina artists and this year the Young Contemporaries are raising the bar even higher!

This year they are increasing the Artist of the Year Award to $2,500, continuing the People’s Choice award of $300 and are adding the Jasper State-of-the-Art award for $200, plus a prize package and publication in a future issue of Jasper Magazine.

Along with the awards, a contemporary art friendly crowd will bid on 100 pieces of artwork and artists will retain 60% of the sale price. This event will be held Friday, April 13th at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Submissions will be accepted until February 29.To apply, please apply online at

If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Bryson at

A Little Bit of Snark and a Good Deal of Praise -- Jeffrey Day's Art Year 2011 Review


Although the economy still sucked the arts community in Columbia just seemed to say “Screw it” and kept going.

For his last few years in the Governor’s office, when he wasn’t on the Appalachian Tail, Mark Sanford tried to zero out the budget for several state agencies, including the S.C. Arts Commission. The General Assembly never let him get far with it until his final year when some sort of deal had been struck. Then an uprising about the cuts rose up – mostly through Facebook – and legislators got an earful from art supporters all over the state. Not surprisingly, the new governor, Nikki Haley, brought out the knife as well, and she got it knocked out of her hand as well.  Made The New York Times. But expect the same fight this year.

The arts on Main Street started to coalesce after a couple of years. A gallery crawl – and all kinds of additional frills like music, theater and fire-eating – is now being held on Main Street EVERY SINGLE MONTH! That’s damn exciting especially when hundreds of people show up for all of them.

The art being shown is still  inconsistent, but there has been lots and lots of good art on display at all the locations (Frame of Mind, Anastatia and FRIENDS, S & S Art Supply, the Arcade, Tapp’s Arts Center) at one time or another. One of the best things has been the window installations at Tapp’s, but beyond the windows, the Tapp’s Art Center is still trying to figure things out. The director said earlier in the years that the upstairs studio spaces would be rented to artists who were juried in, but instead these have been turned into little “galleries” some jammed with work by a dozen artists or so.

The first South Carolina Biennial of contemporary art ran in two parts with about 25 artists at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art. The first show was terrific in every way, the second was rather messy, but had some of the best artists in it. The way the show is selected needs some fine turning. Whatever the shortcomings, the show fills the huge gap left when the Triennial was killed off a few years ago. The center also needs to spend as much time and effort (or even a third as much) getting the word out about its art shows as it does about its parties and openings.

The long-time director of the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties, Andy Witt, has left the building. Neither Witt nor the Council are even vaguely familiar to many in the arts community, but the council still raises about $200,000 a year for distribution to arts groups and that’s an important chunk of change in these times.  It’s time for the council to take a good hard look at itself and figure out what it’s going to do other than tread water.

I’ll go against conventional wisdom here and declare that the Columbia Museum of Art is more important than the Mast General Store to Main Street. It’s actually kind of hard to keep up with everything the museum does because it does so much – from big touring exhibitions, to small shows by locals, to concerts.

The museum is closing off the year and starting the new one with a big show of Hudson River school paintings. My first walk through I thought “Wow there’s some really hackneyed stuff in here” and actually a couple other people said the same to me. Then I went back. Yes, there are sentimental things and a few pieces that are high-end tourist art, but most of it is really truly wonderful.  Except for the fact that all the paintings have glass on them.

The museum started the year with “Who Shot Rock and Roll,” a photography exhibition documenting the history of rock ‘n’ roll.  I figured it would be a door buster without much substance. Instead it was a nearly perfect show that melded documentation, a wide approach to the medium and the music, and a crazy mixed up population of big stars and unknowns. And the show was just the right size – big enough to provide real range and small enough that it wasn’t repetitious. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the huge images of David Lee Roth right by the exit.

Sandwiched between was the show of Michael Kenna’s haunting and technically-dazzling photos of Venice. This year the museum managed to have a bit of everything without stinting on quality.

The Conundrum Music Hall in West Columbia has provided an outlet for all kinds of new music – from improv jazz to contemporary classical to the plain old weird and self-indulgent. One of the highlights was a chamber group from the S.C. Philharmonic. Half the audience had never been to an orchestra concert and the other half had never been to West Columbia. And about 50 people were turned away because it was sold out.

Phillip Bush, the Columbia-based pianist with a rich resume, made his first appearance with a local orchestra, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major. He and the young players sounded great.

The second concert of the season by the S.C. Philharmonic was all Mozart and all of it good. A seasoned pro playing the clarinet concerto, two teen-agers taking on a piano concerto, and a wonderful wrap-up with the “Jupiter” symphony.

Trustus Theatre founders Jim and Kay Thigpen plan to retire this spring and in the fall Jim Thigpen directed “August: Osage County” as his swan song. What a way to go out: one of the best productions at the theater during the past two decades.

As usual the Wideman-Davis Dance Company provided more surprises and depth with one more new work “Voypas.”

Many people seemed to be excited about the return of installation art to Artista Vista – and so was I since I put the show together. This is not a completely self-congratulatory note. All I did was pick artists who were good and competent and pretty nice. They did the rest. Well I did wash the windows and sweep. It was one of the best experiences of my life.




A Portrait of Columbia Through the Lens of Richard Samuel Roberts

Wherever your eyes drift while viewing the work of photographer Richard Samuel Roberts, they’ll always return to the faces. There’s a story to tell in each one, stories of dignity, determination, and strength of spirit.

  Roberts, a self-taught African-American photographer, is celebrated for the remarkable portraits he took of black Columbians between 1920 and 1936. In the introduction to “A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts,” Thomas Johnson notes that Robert’s photographs “of course portray black Carolinians in their role as ‘burden bearers.’ But here also is W.E.B. Du Bois’s ‘talented tenth’ in South Carolina -- the achievers, progressives, entrepreneurs who engaged in individual and communal programs of uplift and self-help, who were concerned not just with mere survival, but ‘making it’ and claiming their piece of the American pie.”

  Thanks to the work of a new membership affiliate at the Columbia Museum of Art, the

Friends of African American Art and Culture, 24 of Roberts’ images can now be seen in a new exhibit in Gallery 15, upstairs at the museum. The images were chosen by FAAAC board members, folks such as Waltene Whitmire, Javana Lovett, Preach Jacobs, Michaela Pilar Brown, and Kyle Coleman. Each board member was asked to write down their thoughts about the photograph, and these insights are displayed alongside the image.

  This is a must-see exhibit for everyone, but especially for Columbians who are not familiar with Roberts and his work. He deserves to be heralded as one of our city’s most historically significant artists, a man whose curiosity and dedication preserved a part of our culture that might otherwise have been lost.

  Roberts and his family moved to Columbia from Fernandina, Florida, in 1920. His wife, Wilhelmina Pearl Selena Williams, was a native of Columbia. Roberts took a job as custodian at the post office and worked weekdays from 4 a.m. to noon. He purchased a five-room house at 1717 Wayne Street for $3,000, and in 1922 he rented space for a photography studio upstairs at 1119 Washington St., a block off Main Street.

  “The fact that Roberts could purchase such a house is ample evidence that he and his family were members of a rising, relatively affluent, middle-class black community,” Johnson wrote.

  Over the years, Roberts took thousands of photographs of members of this community, so the 24 on display currently the Museum of Art only scratch the surface of this historical treasure trove. (A book could be written about the discovery and restoration of the 3,000 glass-plate negatives that were found in a crawl space at the family’s Wayne Street home a half-century after Roberts took the photographs.)

  The exhibition will be on view through April 29, 2012. But don’t wait to go see it, and don’t go just once. Check out the book “A True Likeness” for more of Roberts’ work, and I encourage everyone who has an appreciation for the artistic and cultural contributions of African-American artists to join the FAAAC. Affiliate president Brandolyn Thomas Pinkston says the group’s goal is to provide “a multitude of programs, lectures, and exhibits.”

  The Roberts exhibit is a fascinating and powerful start.

-- Mike Miller


Michael Miller is an associate editor of Jasper Magazine -- read more of his work in the last two issues of Jasper at

Unique Perspective Tour at CMA Arts & Draughts tonight

A note from cindi --

Tonight, I have the honor of combining two of my favorite topics of conversation -- gender studies and art --  into a singular discussion when I host a Unique Perspective Tour as part of the Columbia Museum of Art's Arts and Draughts event.

I'll be talking about the duality of representations of women in the visual arts from pre-Renaissance through the 20th century, and how feminist theory informs this reality.

Essentially, we'll be looking at the social construction of women as either good girls (think Doris Day or the Virgin Mother) or bad girls (think Marilyn Monroe and Mary Magdalene) with little in between. Our permanent collection at the CMA is replete with images that reinforce this dichotmization of women into one of two categories. We'll take a look at some of these images and, at the same time, examine the icons and attributes in the paintings and draw some conclusions from these, too.

I recognize how hard it will be to tear yourself away from the outstanding bands the CMA has performing tonight -- Say Brother, Shovels and Rope, and the like. Not to mention some of the other cool activities those wild women and men at the museum have planned. But if you take a notion, join me upstairs at 8 and again at 9 as we talk serious stuff about an aspect of the role of women in the world of art.

And by the way, does our local art museum seriously rock or what?

See you tonight!


Columbia Comics meets Columbia Soul at ColaCon 2011

Time to pull out your favorite super hero/villain costume, Columbia! Our progressive little city is hosting the first of its kind ColaCon at the Columbia Museum of Art from 5 p.m. to midnight this Friday. This isn’t your standard comic book convention, my fellow fantasy lovers. ColaCon is where hip-hop music and comic book culture intersect to create an evening of eclectic goodness.

Organized by the talented Preach Jacobs, ColaCon will feature all of the traditional elements of a comic book convention, including lectures and panels from some of the top professionals in the industry, as well as inkers, writers, graphic novelists, illustrators and more.

Columbia native Sanford Greene, an accomplished comic book illustrator, will be a featured artist and will speak on the panel “Indie Music & Art in Modern Culture.” Green has worked on many high profile comic books including Amazing Spider-Man, Army of Darkness, Deadpool and more. Also a Columbia native, Marvel Editor Jody LeHeup will be speaking on the panel “Want to Get Into Comics” and will give aspiring artists, writers and inkers portfolio reviews.

I took a little time to talk with LeHeup before he heads our way from the Big Apple. Here is what he had to say:

  • What is it like coming back to Columbia for the first ever ColaCon as a Marvel Editor? It’s great! I always enjoy coming home to South Carolina, but it’s especially exciting to be coming back for ColaCon. Preach Jacobs has put together an incredible show and I’m thrilled that as an editor working in comics I can be a part of it. I’m flattered to be asked.
  • What role has Columbia played in pushing you forward to achieve your dreams? When I was living in Columbia, it was not a city that pushed artists forward. The support just wasn’t there. Plenty of artists tried to get things going, put on events, that kind of thing, and people just didn’t come out. It was a very frustrating thing to watch and to experience. You’ve got people bitching that there’s not enough of an art culture in Columbia and then those same people don’t go out and support it, either with their presence or their dollar. It was that stagnation that actually pushed me out of Columbia. That was a few years ago though and things seem to be getting better now. The response to ColaCon and other recent events has been big so that’s very heartening. Much love out to everyone living here fighting the good fight.
  • What are you looking for in the portfolio reviews you will be conducting at ColaCon? I’m looking for a lot of things. First and foremost I’m looking for ways to help the artist whose portfolio I’m reviewing to become better. An artist that’s not ready this year might be ready next year if they work on their craft, so giving them good criticism and enabling them to improve is good for them and it’s good for me as an editor. Beyond that I’m looking at an artist's sense of page composition and layout, storytelling from panel to panel, anatomy, perspective, special relationships between characters and environments, consistency from panel to panel, ability to cartoon and to have characters emote, and a general idea for whether this person’s work is competitive with artists I currently work with.
  • Didn’t you just get a book nominated for a Harvey Award? Aren't the Harvey Awards like the Oscars of comics? Tell us a little bit about that. Hah! Well, they’re more like the Golden Globes. The Eisners are sort of like the Oscars if you want to follow that analogy. But yes, I was nominated for a Harvey Award for Strange Tales Vol. II and it was a huge honor.
  • What are you currently working on at marvel? I’m currently editing a title called UNCANNY X-FORCE along with three other projects that haven’t been announced yet.
  • Are we going to see any of your own comics anytime in the near future? Yeah, I hope so. Not for a while though. Got a few things I have left to do as an editor first.
  • Anything you want to say to those aspiring to work in comics? Stop talking about it, study the craft, and do it. Let nothing stop you. If you get your ass kicked trying, get up and try it again.

Jacobs has planned a solid comic book convention, as well as taking it a step further to ensure our senses are stimulated throughout the entire evening by bringing in some of the top hip-hop, soul and alternative sounds from the southeast. Also appearing is Talib Kweli, an MC from Brooklyn, NY, as the headlining act.  Kweli first gained recognition through a collaboration with MC Mos Def called, Black Star. He is also a frequent collaborator with artists like Kanye West and has sold 2 million albums worldwide.

All around, this is going to be a one-of-a-kind event not to be missed. If you are interested in comics and/or good music, it is a great time for you to check out what is going on in the local and regional scene.

General tickets are $20 and $15 for Columbia Museum of Art members.For more information on ColaCon check out We hope to see you there (in costume)! So, until then, tell Jasper what super hero/villain you plan to impersonate at ColaCon on Friday. For me, I’m thinking Poison Ivy.

-Margey Bolen


Jasper Magazine - the Word on Columbia Arts debuts in print in

16 days

Until then, visit us at

and subscribe to this blog by adding your email address to the box at right