Monday, October 6, 2014

The Songs of the Fifty States: South Carolina

(What is "The Songs of the Fifty States"?)

Alfred Hutty (1877-1954), Sunny Day, East Bay Street, Charleston. Hawthorne Fine Art, New York

South Carolina!

Size: 82,931 km2 (40th)

2013 Population: 4,774,839 (24th)

Statehood: 1788 (8th). Succeeded 1860. Fully readmitted 1877.

American Human Development Index: 4.35 (42nd)

Art Mecca: South Carolina seems to have a suprising number of arts institutions, or maybe I'm just surprised because I live on the other side of the county and know almost nothing about South Carolina, which recently replaced Texas as my most superficially experienced state. I boiled the contenders down to what strikes me as The Big Three: the Gibbes Museum of Art (in Charleston), the Columbia Museum of Art, and the prosaicly named but richly endowed Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery. It came down to counting "likes" on Facebook, by which measure the Columbia Museum of Art runs away with it.

"The Columbia," as we shall call it, was a late starter, opening its doors in 1950 as an art & science outfit with a planetarium and paintings from big names like Scipione Pulzone and Artus Wolffort. A few years later, however, it was picked out for a steady stream of cultural largesse from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and in 1988 was able to calve off its science holdings and get down to serious arts business. Along the way, they've picked up pictures from brand names like Boucher, Canaletto, Guardi, and Monet, and even a Botticelli for crying out loud.

Now, you can take the assertion that South Carolina's premier international art museum houses a world class collection of European and American fine and decorative art one of two ways. Although there is nothing there that you can point at as patently untrue, nevertheless the whole seems a bit overstated. The Botticelli is doubtless nice, but otherwise The Columbia's collection seems to consist mostly of bona fide treasures the likes of which you would expect to find not in a world-class collection, but rather a robust regional collection.

Still, twelve bucks will get you in, as long as you get there before 5 p.m. If you're there on Sunday, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina will pick up your tab. Columbia is said to be kind of cool. Might be worth a visit!

Michael 5000's South Carolina

First Visited: June 2, 1994 (26th)
Most Recently Visited: June 2, 2014 (48th)

First Run In: n/a
Best Run: n/a

Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.
Have Geohashed In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: No.

Counties Visited: 6/46 (42nd)
% Complete: 13.0% (45th)

Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 9/46 (40th)
% Complete: 19.6% (38th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: Unknown
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: Unknown 

Atlas of All Roads Traveled

Just a single one-day passage through South Carolina, with a stop at the hospital in Greenwood.  My day in the Palmetto State was brief, but unpleasant.  It wasn't South Carolina's fault.

Plans and Aspirations

Just because my experience of the Carolinas and Kentucky are so superficial and so long ago -- and, frankly, because they have little tiny counties -- I hope to return and explore them, one of these years.  And if I do, I will know where the art museums are.


DrSchnell said...

Now, I'm no expert, but I do believe you meant to refer to this state as "South Carolina" in your header "Michael 5000's Oklahoma." I'm pretty sure Oklahoma has a panhandle.

Michael5000 said...

Damn templates.