The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston presents the exhibition “Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South” through March 2, 2019, held simultaneously at both the Halsey and the City Gallery at Waterfront Park.
The exhibit comprises fifty-six photographers’ visions of the South over the first decades of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, it offers a composite image of the region. The photographs echo stories told about the South as a bastion of tradition, as a region remade through Americanization and globalization, and as a land full of surprising realities. The project’s purpose is to investigate the senses of place in the South that congeal, however fleetingly, in the spaces between the photographers’ looking, their images, and our own preexisting ideas about the region.
“Southbound” is curated by Mark Sloan, director and chief curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, and Mark Long, professor of political science, both of whom are on the faculty of the College of Charleston.
Halsey Institute gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm, and 11 am to 7 pm on Thursdays, and closed on Sundays. City Gallery’s hours are Tuesday to Friday, 11 am to 6 pm, 12 pm to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and closed on Mondays. The galleries of the Halsey Institute and the City Gallery are open to the public and admission is free. Holiday hours for the weeks of December 10th – January 5th will be posted on halsey.cofc.edu and citygalleryatwaterfrontpark.com.
“Southbound” embraces the conundrum of its name. To be southbound is to journey to a place in flux, radically transformed over recent decades, yet also to the place where the past resonates most insistently in the United States. To be southbound is also to confront the weight of preconceived notions about this place, thick with stereotypes, encoded in the artistic, literary, and media records.
“Southbound” engages with and unsettles assumed narratives about this contested region by providing fresh perspectives for understanding the complex admixture of history, geography, and culture that constitutes today’s New South. Recognizing the complexity of understanding any place, let alone one as charged as the American South, the curators’ approach is transdisciplinary. The photographs will be complemented by a commissioned video, an interactive digital mapping environment, an extensive stand-alone website (SouthboundProject.org), and a comprehensive exhibition catalogue. The catalogue draws on expertise from disciplines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Emmy-award winning filmmaker
John David Reynolds has produced a documentary featuring interviews with select photographers and writers.
The history of the American South is among the most storied of any region in the world. As a result of the vitality of its culture and the diversity of its inhabitants — to say nothing about the salience of photography in the United States — the region has also come to be among the most photographed. Through the exhibition, video, remappings, website, and catalogue — separately and in tandem — the Southbound project charts new courses toward expanded imaginings for the twenty-first century South.
Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South from John Reynolds & Lee Donaldson on Vimeo.