Easy Escapes | Columbia Museum of Art holds marvels that span millennia

spalisin@thesunnews.comApril 10, 2014 

  • If you go

    The Palmetto State capital is reachable from Myrtle Beach in about 21/2 hours. From Interstate 20 west, take Exit 73A for S.C. 277 south toward downtown for about seven miles. More details from Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau at 803-545-0000, 800-264-4884 or www.columbiacvb.com. (Also, consider a “CoolPass” combination ticket for EdVenture Children’s Museum, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, and S.C. State Museum.)

    What | Columbia Museum of Art

    Where | 1515 Main St.

    Open | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays (also open until 8 p.m. on first Friday monthly), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon-5 p.m. Sundays

    How much | $12 adults; $10 ages 65 and older, and military; $5 students; and free ages 5 and younger

    Also | Free admission on Sundays

    Special exhibits |

    “Japan and the Jazz Age,” with more than 120 works from the 1920s-‘30s, through April 20

    • “Meiji Magic: Imperial Porcelain from Japan,” 29 pieces from 1868-1912, through May 18

    • “Cheer for the Home Team: Animal Mascots from the Collection,” with 41 works (also guided tours 11 a.m. Saturdays); and “Animal Instinct: Paintings by Shelley Reed,” 40 large, black-and-white works of animals posing as people, both May 16-Sept. 14

    • “Daryl Trivieri’s Fantastic Animals: Selections from the Vogel Collection,” 24 works on paper, May 30-Aug. 31

    • “Tabletop Art History: Still Life from the Collection,” 24 works, Sept. 12-Jan. 4

    • “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera,” 50 photographs and 16 original paintings and drawings; and “Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collection,” both Oct. 17-Jan. 8

    Docents | Guided tours at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, covering museum highlights

    Also | Art Garfunkel concert, 8 p.m. June 6, for $65, with question-and-answer session afterward.

    Free parking | Saturdays-Sundays on surrounding streets and in City Center Garage, 1227 Taylor St.

    Information | 803-799-2810 or www.columbiamuseum.org

    Some other Columbia outings

    S.C. STATE MUSEUM

    Where | 301 Gervais St.

    Open | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (and adding Mondays from May 26-Sept. 1, and for all of December)) and 1-5 p.m. Sundays

    How much | $7 ages 13-61, $6 military and ages 62 and older, $5 ages 3-12, and free ages 2 and younger

    Also | Buy tickets for special exhibit “Tutankhamun: Return of the King” – with 124 replicas – for $15, $13 and $11, respectively, and receive museum admission for the day

    This Saturday only| Free with admission: “History Day,” including military re-enactors, archaeology presentations and craft stations all day; “Museum and a Movie” screening of “Civil Warriors: Families at War” at 11 a.m.; H.L. Hunley talks by Stoney Hilton at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.; book reading and signing by Mary Ann Solesbee, author of “Sal and Amanda” book series at 1 p.m.; screening of “Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay” at 1:30 (which also will play on the afternoon of April 25 at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, at the Carmike 17 at Broadway at the Beach); and traditional Gullah folk music by Sharon Cooper-Murray at 3.

    Every Saturday through April | “Museum and a Movie” screenings free with admission: “Unlocking the Great Pyramid,” 11:30 a.m. Sunday and April 19; “Lincoln’s Secret Weapon,” 11 a.m. April 19; “Massachusetts’ 54th Colored Infantry,” 11 a.m. April 26; “Ultimate Tut,” 1:30 p.m. April 26; and “Egypt Eternal,” 1:30 p.m. April 27.

    Information | 803-898-4921 or www.scmuseum.org

    S.C. STATE HOUSE

    Where | 1100 Gervais St., at Main Street

    Open | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

    Guided tours | Available in building for free, including 15-minute DVD presentation on its history and architecture; walk around outside anytime.

    How much | Free

    Information | 803-734-2430 (to schedule a guided tour) and www.scstatehouse.gov/visit.php

    RIVERBANKS ZOO AND GARDEN

    Where | Off Interstate 126 at Greystone Blvd., just west of downtown Columbia

    Open | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, and until 6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays through Sept. 28

    How much | $11.75 ages 13-61, $10.75 military and ages 62 and older, $9.25 ages 3-12; and free ages 2 and younger

    Daily animal demonstrations | Keeper talk with wreathed hornbill at 10:15 a.m.; penguin feedings 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; gorilla presentation 11:30 a.m.; kangaroo talk noon; aquarium dive demo 12:30 p.m.; plaza stage presentation 1:30 p.m.; birdhouse encounter 2 p.m.; rattlesnake talk 2:30; and African elephant presentation 3 p.m.

    Information | 803-779-8717 or www.riverbanks.org

    SPARKLEBERRY COUNTRY FAIR

    Where | 900 Clemson Road, Interstate 20 exit 80 in northeast Columbia

    When | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 26

    Theme | Cancer awareness and survival

    How much | $5 per car load

    Includes | Tractor and engine show; classic cars exhibit; local talent show; arts and crafts fair; cow milking contest; pony rides; hot air balloon rides; barbecue cookoff; a kids’ zone; and more

    Information | www.sparkleberryfair.org

    Also | Sparkleberry Country Fair Cancer Awareness 5K Run is April 19. Visit www.strictlyrunning.com or www.sparkleberrycountryfair.org for more information or to register.

Upon entry into the Columbia Museum of Art, look up for one piece pointing right at you, even before a walk into any gallery.

Dale Chihuly’s untitled chandelier from 2009-10 might look a tornado of red, orange, gold and clear snakes, but it’s actually 798 individual pieces of blown and hot-worked glass, metal and wire, in colors of a sunset. The wall card states the object comprises 11 different shapes, weighs almost 1 ton, and spans 14 feet in length, 11 feet in width and 6 feet in depth.

A peer at this work from below or on the side from the atrium mezzanine marks a fitting, fiery way to start or close a visit at this museum, which might easily consume a few hours of an afternoon, especially on Sundays, when admission is free.

The museum’s 7,000 artworks span millennia, going as far back to about 4200 B.C. The introduction to the collection begins upstairs in the “Ancient” gallery, with seven busts of portraiture, perhaps the most famous genre of Roman art. Look up close and see the different personality in each, whether through such expressions in hair style, downturned lips, bushy hair or thick eyebrows.

Even outside this time of Lent and Passover, guests can indulge their eyes in many religious themed works. In “Joseph Presenting His Father and Brothers to the Pharaoh,” oil on canvas by François Boucher from about 1723-26, includes its original ornate frame. Besides the gesturing made by the subjects, they look strong physically, amid the waves in their tunics and the rug that lines the marble stairs.

The gentle connection of a child doting on her pet, resting on her right hand, shows in “Girl with Black Dove,” painted in 1715-30 by Giuseppe Maria Crespi.

A Monet, “The Seine at Giverny (L’Ile aux Orties, Giverny),” from 1897, commands its own wall. In this serene scene, the water reflects the sky in blues, purples, pinks and greens. Step back for an even clearer view.

A similar feeling might arise in viewing an untitled seascape, an oil on paperboard, mounted to fiberboard, by William Trost Richards from about 1890. The rolling surf beneath a pastel sky might prompt thoughts of a common scene at dusk at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Two special exhibits give Japan the spotlight.

In “Meiji Magic: Imperial Porcelain from Japan,” 29 pieces from 1868-1912 on view through May 18, one plate shows a spring scene and festival, among pieces that give insight into the country’s lifestyle and culture from more than a century ago.

Back downstairs in the museum, “Japan and the Jazz Age,” with more than 120 works from the 1920s-‘30s, hits its final stride, concluding April 20. This Art Deco collection includes two striking, wall-size paintings, each with a woman.

Stop by “Aquarium (Gyoso)” by Enomoto Chikatoshi, and look up and into a tank where the fish appear to swim in a pattern, but also at the viewer, with a ribbon in her hair, purse clutched in her left arm and right hand on the railing. Fish tanks are known for creating a relaxing setting for people, but watching someone soothe herself in this instance, and wondering about her thoughts, might only double the reward.

Nakamura Daizaburo’s “White Western Clothes” shows a woman standing in a white gown down to her feet, with one hand on her hip and the other on the back of a chair, in a more western look accented by her hair and jewelry.

Don’t leave this exhibit without a peek at Kano Seiun II’s “Ornament of Peacock” gilt bronze. Its tail in a flail is decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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