The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art announces a fall season teeming with exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, special member events, and discussions. From American purgatory to mountain peaks to trash as treasure, the Halsey’s programming is as diverse as it is universal — check out the full lineup below.

Visual arts
Mountains and mole hills

In American Purgatory, Marc Trujillo captures what Americans witness every day: airports, big box stores, fast food restaurants. The ostensibly straightforward paintings actually tap into the uncanny — this looks familiar, it feels familiar, but where is it? The paintings are not specific to any place, inhabiting instead a non-place, purgatory, perhaps. While we consume en masse, Trujillo takes snapshots, eerie reminders that we are all in this together, whether we realize it or not. American Purgatory opens Aug. 25 and runs through Oct. 7. 

Sharing an opening date with Trujillo, Riccarda de Eccher’s Montagna tackles the sublime, taking the form of mountain peaks painted with watercolors in different scales and from varying perspectives. De Eccher’s snow-peaked Italian Alps (the artist is an Italian native) are cropped, so we are not looking at a complete landscape, but instead a fraction of a scene, a scene, like Trujillo’s, that could be found any where, recognizable to anyone.

The two exhibits run concurrently, and the opening reception for both begins at 6:30 p.m. Fri. Aug 25 with refreshments from Monza and ICEBOX.

Water water everywhere

As part of SEA CHANGE, a collaboration between the Halsey and the South Carolina Aquarium, the art institute presents a series of exhibitions and programs to raise awareness about the world’s plastic waste problem. From Oct. 20-Dec. 7, artists Aurora Robson and Chris Jordan will present exhibits addressing environmental issues, and the deleterious effects humans have on the land and the sea.

Robson’s site-specific installation, The Tide is High, is a new body of work for the New York-based sculptor. The inorganic plastic materials Robson uses become organic as she manipulates their properties so that they take on ethereal shapes, reminiscent of sea creatures. Robson’s work reminds us that whether we’re on the coast or landlocked, our daily actions affect the world’s water. [image-5]

Chris Jordan will present his newest photo series, Olympic, a collection of high-res photos that convey the vastness of the world’s oceans, alongside Midway, a collection featuring images taken at Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands that, although 2,000 miles from the nearest continent, are still being damaged by human action. Even baby albatrosses are not safe — the picture at right shows the plastic found in their stomachs.

The opening reception for both artists’ exhibits is Fri. Oct. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with refreshments provided by Whole Foods and ICEBOX.

Artist talks and lectures

On Sat. Aug. 26 at 2 p.m., de Eccher will hold an artist talk and gallery walk-through of her exhibit, Montagna.
Wed. Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. Quattlebaum artist-in-residence Robert Storr, a New York-based artist, curator, and critic, and Trujillo co-host a gallery talk and walk-through of American Purgatory.

Storr presents a lecture entitled “What Happened to the American Scene? Realism Since 1980” on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Simons Center; Storr presents his lecture in conjunction with American Purgatory

Sat. Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. Robson holds a talk and walk-through on The Tide is High.

The S.C. Aquarium presents a lecture, “The Tide is High: When Art and Action Collide,” onsite Mon. Oct 23 starting at 6:30 p.m. In this lecture, Robson discusses her work as both an artist and activist. The event is free for students and $10 for non-students.

In connection with his exhibit, artist and filmmaker Chris Jordan hosts a lecture, “Encounter with the Albatross,” at the Sottile Theatre Tues. Oct 24 at 7 p.m. Jordan will describe his travels to Midway Atoll and the plight of the native albatrosses he encountered.

Film screenings

Wed. Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Simon Center for the Arts Recital Hall, filmmaker Paul Tschinkel will present a screening of two programs from his documentary series ART/new york. The programs include a 1987 interview with Louise Bourgeois, an envelope pushing sculptor, and a 1994 interview with Kiki Smith, a West-German born American artist known for her visceral and innovative work. A Q & A with Tschinkel follows the screening.

Wed. Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. the Charleston Music Hall will screen the premiere of Jordan’s film ALBATROSS, a documentary that follows Jordan to Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands that sits amid the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.