Amid the inevitable sea of idealistic, jaded, or downright inept lecturers that train our nation’s youth, a small percentage of effective educators occasionally bob to the surface. For the next three years, scores of students at the College of Charleston will be lucky enough to encounter one of those buoyant personalities as Jarod Charzewski becomes the Studio Art Department’s latest visiting artist.
Charzewski is an installation artist and sculptor with an MFA from the University of Manitoba, Canada. His past work includes Burning Bridges, which placed an arcade of large slanting door frames in a weedy field, and Tides, a multimedia installation that included video and kinetic sculpture, judiciously commenting on the replacement of historical property with new construction.
“Tides is a very research-based environmental project in three stages,” says Charzewski. He plans to continue developing the open-ended project, adapting it to the spaces he finds. “A lot of the work I’ve done in the past doesn’t really have to be in a formal gallery space, and when it is, it can surround any normal exhibits. It’s very subtle.” He’s only begun to explore Charleston, but he notes that the Aquarium might suit his environmentally-edged work perfectly.
The artist is eager to bring his fascination with technology and “unconventional art practices” into the classroom, using the reaction that occurs when Mentos are dropped into Diet Coke as an unlikely example. Charzewski’s unaware of any art projects that have used a mint-fueled geyser. To redress this, he’ll require students to create something to mount on top of the Coke bottles, then videotape the reactions or stream them on the net. “Contemporary art and sculpture can really encapsulate all kinds of things,” he says, and by the sounds of it, the same will apply to his classes. –Nick Smith