Known For: This port city has long weathered its share of tempests and roiling history, from its antebellum days with painters like Thomas Sully and James Audubon to a 1930s “Porgy and Bess”-style revival of Lowcountry romanticism. Yet edgy undercurrents persist in the work of graffiti artist Shepard Fairey and conceptual artist Charles Gaines, both born here.
Must-See: The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is a noncollecting powerhouse anchored at the College of Charleston and known for championing nontraditional artists like Washington, D.C.’s Renee Stout. It is currently exhibiting Italian painter Hitnes, who retraced Audubon’s steps in the U.S. and painted watercolor views of birds he spotted along the way.
Local Hero: The Southern has done much to rally broader support for the incendiary work of Charleston-based Colin Quashie, who painted retired Gen. Colin Powell’s face onto boxes of Uncle Ben’s rice and redesigned toile wallpaper to reflect the brutal realities of slavery. Another rising star: Fletcher Williams III, whose work uses palmetto roses to explore black entrepreneurship and ingenuity, he said.
Insider Tip: Mark Sloan, the Halsey’s director and chief curator, recommends stopping by the emerging-art exhibitions and artist studios at the Redux Contemporary Art Center. “The technology executives moving into Charleston now are adventurous, and they’re more into emerging art than marsh scenes,” Mr. Sloan said.READ THE FULL FEATURE