As the first state to secede from the Union, and the place from which the first battle shots were fired, South Carolina arguably started the Civil War. One hundred and fifty years later, McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, aims to end it with a juried exhibition of contemporary craft we hope will animate civil conversations about Civil War legacies.
A WPA-era building located on the University’s historic quadrangle, McKissick Museum stands in the company of the largest collection of slave-made structures on any campus in the United States. These structures bear witness to enslaved African Americans’ artisan skill and manual labor. They also provide a poignant backdrop for the Museum’s significant collections of 19th-century, alkaline-glazed stoneware and sweet grass baskets, cultural forms intimately tied to the presence of African slaves in the region and now seemingly synonymous with the southern experience. It seems fitting, then, that McKissick Museum commemorate the 150th anniversary of end of the Civil War on April 9, 2015, with a major exhibition that symbolically re-enacts the Civil War’s end as a scene of reconciliation—not between the North and the South—but between former slaves and former slave owners.
We seek entries from artists working in what historically have been regarded as craft-based media – clay, fiber, glass, metal and wood – who will imagine and give visual and sculptural form to this scene. It is perhaps the scene that Martin Luther King conjured when he dreamt of a day when “the sons of former slaves and the sons of slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
What kind of table might energize and sustain continued civic dialog about how the institution of slavery continues to shape southern life? What kind of table, chairs, and table wares might bring people together to share a meal, share experiences, and speak candidly about the collective work that remains to be done? Would the table be set with china, ceramic stoneware or wooden plates? Would sterling flatware or oyster shells serve as eating utensils? Would guests drink from glasses or gourds? Would a tablecloth grace the table’s surface? Do napkins or placemats define individual place settings? Are there serving pieces on the table suggestive of the food traditions southerners forged and share?
In other words, what might the material culture of restorative justice look and feel like?
Jurors – See McKissick Museum’s website for updates.
Awards – $25,000 in purchase awards will be given to prize winning artists and/or artist collaboratives. Artists are welcome to submit images of an individual artwork conceived of as a component part of a scene of reconciliation OR to submit images of an installation with multiple components OR to collaborate with other artists to submit images of an installation with multiple component parts.
Timeline for Exhibition:
March 31 – CALL for ENTRIES issued
October 31 – DEADLINE for submission of IMAGES of objects entered
November 30 – ACCEPTANCE notices go out
December 15 – DEADLINE for delivery of artwork at Museum
Feb 2-May 30 – FEB 2, EXHIBITION OPENS
Eligibility – To participate, artists must have been born in, raised in (minimum one year), or be currently living and working in one of the states that joined the Confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. This eligibility requirement ensures that the prize-winning artworks that will become part of McKissick’s permanent collection are aligned with the Museum’s collections policy.
Artists must work in craft-based media—clay, fiber, glass, metal, and/or wood.
Submitted artworks must have been completed since April 2011, the start of sesquicentennial commemorations of the American Civil War.
To be eligible for this juried exhibition, artists must be 18 years old on or before the October 31, 2014 submission deadline.
Artists must pay a $25 non-refundable entry fee.
Artists may submit up to five high-resolution digital images (minimum 300dpi/1MB) of artwork(s) for consideration to (https://McKissickMuseum.slideroom.com).
All artwork/installations submitted for consideration should be able to fit in the elevator and/or be broken down into component parts that will fit in the elevator, the dimensions of which are 72”x48”x50”. Designs for objects that will not fit these dimensions should be discussed with McKissick’s Curator of Exhibitions, Edward Puchner at 803/777-2515 or e-mail to (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to production and/or submission.
The artist is responsible for transporting artwork juried into the exhibition to and from McKissick Museum.
Should an artist or artist collaborative submit for consideration an installation that includes digital media, that artist or artist collaborative will be responsible for providing the hardware (projector and/or motor) for the duration of the exhibition at McKissick.
Should an installation be juried into the exhibition, the installation artist or a member of the artist collaborative originating the work must be present one week prior to the opening of “Crafting Civil (War) Conversations” to assist Museum staff with installing the installation.
The artist’s or artist collaborative’s work must presently be wholly owned by the artist or artist collaborative.
Artists whose work is juried into the exhibition will receive and must sign and return to the Museum a loan agreement that will require the artist to loan the artwork for up to 3 years in order that the exhibit might travel to other venues. McKissick aims to travel “Crafting Civil (War) Conversations” to a minimum of one venue in each of the states that joined the Confederacy to foster civil post-Civil War conversations regionally and nationally. Hence, artwork juried into the exhibition needs to be available to travel for three years after the exhibit premieres in South Carolina.
Artworks juried into the exhibition may not be sold before the exhibition opens.
Artists may not substitute a different artwork for that juried into the exhibition.
Works must be original creations. Gicleés and reproductions will not be accepted.
Wall-mounted works must be ready-to-hang (wired or include D-rings, screw eyes, or other hanging apparatus).
If the artwork requires any special mount(s) for display, the mount(s) must be provided at the time of artwork delivery. Museum staff will furnish some standard risers/platforms for presentation purposes only.
Prize-winning artists must agree to transfer all ownership of and reproduction rights to the winning artwork to McKissick Museum On May 31, 2015. Any sales of artwork in the exhibition will be considered pending until the exhibit closes at McKissick and prizes are awarded. If prize winning artwork(s) were sold pending prize announcements, those pending sales will be voided once the artist accepts a purchase award.
Prize-winning artists must agree to grant McKissick Museum an irrevocable limited, permanent license to reproduce the artwork for the purposes of promoting the exhibition or McKissick Museum.