Need more Porgy and Bess in your life? If you missed the two public simulcasts of the opera, and you didn’t manage to snag tickets to the show during Spoleto, fear not. There are Porgy and Bess exhibits around town that take a closer look at the Charleston-based opera.
Last week we got a sneak peek of the Gibbes’ reopening, along with its newest special exhibitions, The Things We Carry and Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess. Both exhibitions will be on display until Oct. 9, so you can soak in the history of Gershwin’s famed opera long after Spoleto leaves town. Beyond Catfish Row features works by American realist George Biddle, American modernist Henry Botkin, and contemporary artists Kara Walker and Jonathan Green, who designed the set and costumes for Spoleto’s version of Porgy and Bess.
We recommend checking out a curator-led tour of Beyond Catfish Row on June 9, starting at 2:30 p.m. Led by the curator of exhibitions, Pam Wall, this tour is included with the price of museum admission, $12 for adults and $6 for kids.
The Charleston Library Society hosts Porgy: Treasures From the Vault, an exhibition that includes the original handwritten manuscript and typescript of DuBose Heyward’s first novel, Porgy. Other editions of Porgy are on display, as well as a program from the 1942 New York revival. And, according to CLS, Dubose Heyward may have written part of Porgy in the library’s main room. The exhibition will be open until June 12.
CofC’s Addlestone Library also has a Porgy and Bess exhibition currently on display, Porgy & Bess: A Charleston Story, featuring rare manuscripts and art. Check it out through August.
The exhibition is partially inspired by a new book, Porgy & Bess: A Charleston Story, and yesterday the library hosted a lecture and book signing about the newly published book. Written by Karen Chandler, Damon Fordham, Pam Wall (the Gibbes’ aforementioned curator of exhibitions), and more, the book provides insight into both Gershwin’s opera, as well as the city of Charleston itself. You can buy the book here.
The Wells Gallery on Kiawah will feature paintings by Jonathan Green, Porgy and Bess’ set and costume designer, through June 12. The gallery will feature original oil paintings by the Lowcountry artist, including the design for this year’s Spoleto poster, “Harvest Gathering.”