BUZZ-O-METER ‌ Visual Arts 

Rodin: In His Own Words
Turtles on the Town
Illumination in the Shadows
Inconvenient Truth: Art and Architecture for the Future of our Planet
Elaine Berlin Invitational
Mary Walker Invitational
Myles Little Invitational Exhibition

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Rodin: In His Own Words

WHAT IS IT? Thirty bronze sculptures by Gallic Master Auguste Rodin, accompanied by letters and other documents from the man himself. WHY SEE IT? In his day, Rodin was regarded as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo due to his ability to encapsulate human emotion and the wonders of the natural world. He could take a lump of bronze and turn it into something vital and awe-inspiring. A display demonstrating his working process will help visitors appreciate his methods. WHO SHOULD GO? Thanks to the works on paper that complement the exhibition, this is your chance to find out what the creator of “The Thinker” was really thinking. Buzz: At the time of his death 90 years ago, Rodin was revered enough to give the French a good name. Now the Gibbes show offers a chance to reappraise the faded star. See preview on pg. 113. (Nick Smith)
$5-$9 • on view May 25-Aug. 12 • Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St. • 722-2706

 

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Turtles on the Town

WHAT IS IT? A citywide art exhibit/fund-raiser headed by the S.C. Aquarium and featuring 40 individually decorated fiberglass turtles that were distributed to Lowcountry artists and organizations like the City of Charleston and the French Quarter Gallery Association for a $5,000 sponsorship fee. WHY SEE IT? First of all, it’s 100 percent free, and second, not only are turtles our favorite local reptile, they need protecting — and that’s what this project, based on the Chicago-born Cows on Parade public art event, aims to do, with proceeds raised by sponsors going to the Aquarium’s various conservation programs. WHO SHOULD GO? Come one, come all! This is a public art project, after all, aiming to be as inclusive as possible. In fact, by the time this issue hits the streets, you’ve probably already spotted a turtle or two around your neighborhood. Buzz: If they make half as big a splash (metaphorically speaking, of course) as the cows, the turtles’ work here is off to a great start. (Sara Miller)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • On view May 28-Aug. 31 • Turtle maps available at the S.C. Aquarium and the Charleston Visitor Center • 720-1990 • www.turtlesonthetown.com

 

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Illumination in the Shadows

WHAT IS IT? A large-scale painter finally gets the space he deserves in the airy City Gallery at Waterfront Park. WHY SEE IT? Fletcher Crossman’s realist paintings look big and beautiful in RLS:Upstairs on East Bay Street. He specializes in cool, contemporary figuratives that marry classical art techniques with rock star chic. Nice venue, too: his solo show will be displayed at the City Gallery’s impressive, light-filled space at Waterfront Park. WHO SHOULD GO? Contemporary art lovers looking for a touch of grandiosity in the work they see, and who don’t mind cricking their necks looking up at the 10-foot tall paintings. Buzz: Crossman’s art is always impressive, and this will be a great show if it’s curated correctly. (Nick Smith)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • on view May 25-June 10 • City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St. • 554-6060

 

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Inconvenient Truth: Art and Architecture for the Future of our Planet

WHAT IS IT? A showing of works by local artists with a theme of facing our perilous environmental future. WHY SEE IT? The Circular church recently built a new “green” building utilizing sustainable materials and efficient energy usage, inspiring the theme for their annual “In the Spirit” exhibition. Drawing upon over a dozen local artists, the mediums utilized include sculpture, painting, photography, and batik on silk. With the natural world facing potential disaster, this show may very well inspire its viewers to do something about that in their own lives. WHO SHOULD GO? If you like the Art Walk, this is a chance to see 14 artists’ work displayed in one place, for free. Buzz: The Circular Church offers an “In the Spirit” art exhibit each year. This year’s timely theme provides added poignancy. (Stratton Lawrence)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • Opening reception: May 24, 7-9 p.m.; On view May 25-June 10 • Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. • 724-7305

 

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Elaine Berlin Invitational

WHAT IS IT? This year’s official Piccolo poster artist gets a show all to herself. WHY SEE IT? Elaine Berlin’s been part of the Charleston art scene for 20 years. She’s familiar to visitors to the Piccolo Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition, where her abstract work is a breath of fresh air in the midst of hundreds of representational paintings. She’s still informed by her surroundings though; some of her work is reminiscent of Charleston’s architecture and tree-lined landscapes. WHO SHOULD GO? Anyone who likes their art abstract, blocky, and predominantly red. Buzz: Berlin’s a local hero who has pulled out all the stops to make this show a good ‘un. See preview on pg. 113. (Nick Smith)
Piccolo Spoleto • Free • On view May 25-June 10 • City Gallery at the Dock Street Theatre, 133 Church St. • 554-6060

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Mary Walker Invitational

WHAT IS IT? Johns Island artist Mary Walker has produced a series of collages based on birds and butterflies. WHY SEE IT? Walker had a successful exhibition at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park last Christmas, blending outsider art, traditional painting, printmaking, text, and local history to powerful effect. As this year’s official Piccolo Spoleto Spotlight Series poster artist, she’s used her trademark collages to symbolize aspects of the Spotlight concerts. She’s a bold artist who isn’t afraid to take risks, so this won’t just be safe stuff. WHO SHOULD GO? Hungry for a side dish of art to accompany your opera? This should sate your desire. Buzz:. There isn’t a huge amount of wall space for this work, but Walker’s atmospheric collages should suit the venerable surroundings of the Footlights. (Nick Smith)
Piccolo Spoleto • Free • Opening reception: June 6, 5-7 p.m.; On view May 28-June 10 • Footlight Players Theatre, 20 Queen St. • 554-6060

 

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Myles Little Invitational Exhibition

WHAT IS IT? A photographic look at Piccolo Spoleto 2006. WHY SEE IT? Spoleto’s always had sexy, big-budget photos to match its big shows. Little’s all-encompassing, hit and run style suits the fringe fest he was commissioned to cover. About 20 color prints will cover highlights from ’06, including classical concerts, bands, and parties. The shots will be hung in the Dock Street Theatre’s Charles Wadsworth Room. WHO SHOULD GO? Was last year’s Piccolo a drunken blur for you? These sharp images will refresh your memory. Buzz: Little’s young but he’s certainly been places — all over the Fest, in fact. And he’s obviously impressed the Piccolo heads enough for them to exhibit his work in an elegant fashion. (Nick Smith)
Piccolo Spoleto • Free • On view May 25-June 10 • Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church St. • 554-6060


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