COLUMBIA – The South Carolina State Museum will showcase art collected by the South Carolina Arts Commission in Eclipsing 50: The State Art Collection 1967 - 2017, a new exhibit which features work collected between 1967 and 2017. The exhibit, which opens Sept. 15, will highlight the breadth and depth of work produced by artists in our state.

Established in 1967 as one of the Commission’s first programs, the State Art Collection now includes 493 works in a variety of styles and media from 287 artists. This exhibition includes over 80 pieces from the collection and centers on the spirit of dynamism and leaps of artistic faith revealed in this unique cultural document of South Carolina’s changing art landscape. Spanning work from the last five decades, Eclipsing 50 delves into the idea of artistic exploration and looks at S.C. artists who challenged themselves to reach boldly beyond their respective eras in the universal pursuit of artistic expression.

Eclipsing 50 includes a lead relief entitled 0 Through 9 by Jasper Johns from 1970. Johns grew up in S.C. and briefly attended the University of South Carolina before moving to New York in the late 1940s. He is generally considered one of the most significant American artists of the second half of the 20th century and his depictions of flags, targets and numbers are now iconic. His experimentation with materials and techniques, as in this piece, continue to serve as inspiration for many artists well into the 21st century.

Another artist featured in the exhibit is Linda McCune who has been working on the mixed media sculpture Ede No. 2 from the “Slew” Series, since 1981. The piece is a very personal narrative about her life experiences, specifically connected to her desire to have a family. There is a sculptural element for each decade of the artist’s life, so she is continually adding to the piece. The version guests will see in Eclipsing 50 will include a new, recently completed component, bringing the total number to six. This new piece records the expansion of the family with the marriages of McCune’s two daughters and the birth of her grandsons.

This exhibit marks the third showing of the State Art Collection at the South Carolina State Museum. The first was a retrospective held in 1988-89 as the inaugural art exhibition in the Lipscomb Gallery for the opening of the museum. The second was held in 1996-97, Signs of Contemporary Art: Selections from the State Art Collection. The Museum is now pleased to partner again with the South Carolina Arts Commission and join in the celebration of the Commission’s 50th anniversary this year.

“Reflecting on 50 years of collecting and with the historic eclipse on everyone’s mind this fall, it struck me that an art collection is a living, fluctuating entity, moving through time, said Lori Kornegay, State Museum curator of art. “New works are added and time passes, so the layers of meaning shift and expand as one’s context and points of reference change through the years. The power of art is that it can eclipse the moment of its making and it takes you out of your day-to-day life, helping you see and experience things in a new way.”

Eclipsing 50 is free with museum general admission or museum membership. The exhibit opens in conjunction with the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Statewide Arts Conference, No Time Like the Future, being held at the museum Sept. 14-15. For more information on the conference visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.

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