Five Events: Art & Architecture Study Series
1. “Voices of Mississippi”
November 13, 2019 at 10:00 am | 40 East Bay Street, Charleston
Presented by William Ferris (Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History Emeritus, Senior Associate Director Emeritus Center for Study of the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
This lecture will focus on his recent projects: a DVD collection of films produced by him between 1968 and 1975 in his home state of Mississippi. ‘The Early Films of William Ferris 1968-1975’ document the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that formed the roots of the blues. The accompanying album, “Voices of Mississippi,” features blues and gospel field recordings made by Ferris between 1966 and 1974. The album recently won two Grammies in the Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes categories.
William R. Ferris is a professor of history at UNC–Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Folklore. He is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South, and is widely recognized as a leader in Southern studies, African-American music and folklore. He is the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to his role at NEH, Ferris served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he was a faculty member for 18 years.
Ferris has written and edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films, most of which deal with African-American music and other folklore representing the Mississippi Delta. He co-edited the Pulitzer Prize nominee Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (UNC Press, 1989), which contains entries on every aspect of Southern culture and is widely recognized as a major reference work linking popular, folk, and academic cultures.
2. “From Clay to Kiln: Pottery and Poetry of South Carolina’s Edgefield District”
December 4, 2019 at 10:00 am | 40 East Bay Street, Charleston
Presented by Grahame Long (Senior Curator, The Charleston Museum)
By the 1840s, multiple large-scale potteries in and around Edgefield, South Carolina were producing thousands of stoneware vessels for myriad utilitarian uses throughout the southeast. In addition to its holloware, however, the region was a unique cultural niche where enslaved potters turned workaday equipment into works of art. This lecture exploring the rich history of Edgefield pottery will include a visit to the Charleston Museum to examine extant and archaeological examples of this art form. This lecture will directly inform the January day trip to Edgefield.
Grahame Long began his formal museum career in 1997 at Charleston’s Old Exchange Building, moving to The Charleston Museum in 2000. Today, as its Senior Curator, he maintains the numerous material culture collections within its vast holdings including pottery, jewelry, weaponry, and all facets of the decorative arts.
Grahame has lectured extensively throughout the southeast and published numerous articles in local and national periodicals including Antiques and Fine Art and Early American Life. He has authored three books: Lost Charleston (2019), Stolen Charleston: The Spoils of War (2014), and Dueling in Charleston: Violence Refined in the Holy City (2012), a Charleston Library Society, Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival selection.
Besides his work at The Charleston Museum, Grahame is a member of Historic Charleston Foundation’s Nathaniel Russell House Committee, the German Friendly Society and an honorary member of the Washington Light Infantry. He is a former member of the Presbyterian College Alumni Board of Directors, a volunteer for the Citadel Archives, and serves both the Charleston County Bomb Squad and the U.S. Air Force EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) as a civilian consultant. He is married to the Reverend Lissa Long of Westminster Presbyterian Church and has two daughters.
3. Day trip to Edgefield, South Carolina
January 8, 2020, Departure is 9:00 am from 40 East Bay Street, Charleston
This exciting trip will include visits to archaeological sites associated with Edgefield pottery production, a working pottery studio carrying on historic traditions, and – of course – fantastic private collections. Lunch and transportation included.
4. ‘The Divine Craftsman in the Holy City: The Untold Story of John “Quash” Williams’
February 5, 2020 at 10:00 am | 40 East Bay Street, Charleston
Presented by Tiffany Momon (Visiting Research Professor, Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University)
Some best know John “Quash” Williams for his work on the c.1750 Charles Pinckney Mansion once located at the corner of East Bay and Guignard streets in Charleston, South Carolina. While his work on the mansion was an indispensable part of its completion, Williams lived a life that quickly surpassed his connection to the Pinckneys. Williams’ actions would be nothing short of extraordinary as he established himself as a sought-after master carpenter in Charleston, purchased and freed his own children, negotiated his own contracts, and expanded his land holdings throughout the Lowcountry. This presentation will examine the life of John “Quash” Williams who was born enslaved in eighteenth-century South Carolina and by the third quarter of the century was leaving his divine mark on the landscape of the holy city.
Tiffany Momon recently finished her Ph.D. after completing a Masters degree in Public History at MTSU and a Bachelors degree in African American Studies at the University of Memphis. She is interested in Reconstruction, post-emancipation African American communities, African American place-making, and connections between place, race, and memory.
5. Jewelry of America
March 4, 2020 at 10:00 am | 40 East Bay Street, Charleston
Presented by Beth Carver Wees (Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts, the Metropolitan Museum)
The earliest jewelry worn in America was of a sentimental nature, related to love and marriage or to death and mourning. In the early nineteenth century, a domestic industry began to take root. Newark, New Jersey, became home to some 200 manufacturers, and the iconic firms of Gorham and Tiffany & Co. were established. On New York’s Fifth Avenue, upscale jewelry houses strove to compete with European brands, while Britain’s Arts & Crafts movement inspired American jewelers to create small-batch studio production. Ms. Wees, curator of the current Jewelry for America exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, will conclude with a look at mid-20th-century artists whose modernist designs paved the way for contemporary innovations.
Beth Carver Wees is the Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum, where she oversees the collections of American silver and jewelry. Prior to joining The Met’s staff in 2000 she was Curator of Decorative Arts at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She lectures internationally and is the author of numerous articles and books, including English, Irish & Scottish Silver at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (published in 1997) and the 2013 catalogue, Early American Silver in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Beth holds degrees in art history from Smith College and the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. An alumna of the Attingham Summer School and the Royal Collection Studies, she sits on the board of the American Friends of Attingham as Secretary. She was one of six organizing curators for The Met’s 2018-19 exhibition, Jewelry: The Body Transformed, as well as a contributor to its catalogue. In June 2019 she opened a special installation of The Met’s American jewelry, which will remain on view until April of 2020.
*$400 per person – The series includes all five events.