Evelyn DeVere, a local burlesque performer, creator of events, owner of Evelyn’s Alteration & Design, amateur photographer (and more), moved to Charleston in 2005. And she says, since then, she hasn’t been particularly happy with the direction the city’s arts scene is taking. “A lot of artists and the arts scene have sort of homogenized over time,” says DeVere.
Throwing a wrench in the homogenous system, DeVere and Tin Roof have partnered to present Demimonde, an alternative — and sexy, subversive, and kind of weird — art show on Thurs. Feb. 15 from 7-10 p.m.
“It felt a lot more organic,” says DeVere of the mid-2000s art scene in Charleston. “Like there was a lot of possibility.” Now, she says, “Who can afford to go to the fancy ass Gaillard?”
Granted, the arts scene in Charleston is one that’s constantly in flux, and embodies comedy, live music, visual arts, theater, dance, and everything in between. It’s hard to say what direction Charleston’s arts scene is taking: with every closing (The Southern‘s brick and mortar spot) there is a bright spot (Tua Lingua’s new, larger space on Reynolds Ave.)
There’s one thing we can all agree on, though — the more art this city presents, the better. And DeVere’s Demimonde is a great example of a platform for amateur artists.
“I started going down the rabbit hole of New York City in the ’70s and ’80s and what artists were doing then,” she says. “There were a lot of punk art shows — they were a mess — but I was interested in that idea.”
DeVere didn’t want a traditional gallery space for this show and she knew that Tin Roof, where she hosts a monthly goth dance night, would be the perfect spot. DeVere also wanted to highlight artists who “wouldn’t otherwise have a chance” to show their work around town.
The show’s description gives a taste of what to expect: “Tired of marsh landscapes and depictions of Rainbow Row? This show is for you. Revealing the sexy and strange side of Charleston artists.”
“I want to expand people’s idea of, ‘Oh, this is art,'” says DeVere. Participating artists include Blair Davis, Camela Guevara, Christa Elrod, Eli Hollifield, Mariah Donald, Mary Elizabeth, Mollie Howey, and DeVere herself. Charleston’s poet laureate Marcus Amaker will be presenting original, experimental music.
Every attendee will get a complimentary glass of wine at the opening reception — you know, like at fancy art shows. Works will be displayed on pallets hanging from the ceiling, and Demimonde will be on display for about a week.
“If it goes well, I’d like to do it again, ” says DeVere of the pop-up show. “I want what’s left of Charleston’s fringe culture to be represented.”