Columbia Museum of Art participates in the Art Bridges Cohort Program
July 18, 2023
American South Consortium’s collection-sharing partnership underway
Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art is sharing works of art and material culture from its collection with three partner museums, including two in the American South, through the Art Bridges Cohort Program, made possible by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s $2 million grant from the Art Bridges Foundation. Through this program launched in spring 2023, the CMA is curating collaboratively with the Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, Connecticut), the Mobile Museum of Art (Mobile, Alabama), and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (Montgomery, Alabama) to co-organize and host a series of object loans, sharing American art from their collections with each partner museum. Together, the four institutions are known as the American South Consortium.
The American South Consortium is part of the Art Bridges Cohort Program, a national program committed to supporting multi-year exhibition partnerships among museums. The cohort program builds on Art Bridges’ mission to expand access to American art across the United States and to empower museums to broaden traditional definitions of American art.
From spring 2023 to spring 2024, the American South Consortium is featuring a series of Spotlight installations in which each partner museum presents a singular object from its collection. This format highlights the stories behind these great works through an in-depth presentation of its artistic, social, and historic contexts. Every Spotlight will be displayed at each venue.
The Spotlight series features objects from the 19th century to the present, representing an impressive array of materials and makers:
- The Columbia Museum of Art’s Bureau (c. 1855), made by Thomas Day (1801 – c.1861), demonstrates the accomplishments of a free Black craftsman in the face of restrictive conditions in the pre-Civil War era. Spotlight: Thomas Day was on view at the CMA from Saturday, March 25, through Sunday, June 4, and is currently installed at the Wadsworth Atheneum.
- The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts’ Helen Keller (2006), a dynamic story quilt by Yvonne Wells (b. 1939), highlights a noted historic Alabama figure. This work will be on view at the CMA from Saturday, July 15, through Sunday, October 22, 2023.
- The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s Rasoir d’avion (c. 1971) by Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is a rarely seen textile — produced by distinguished manufacturer Pinton Freres in France — that expands the story of modern design. This work will be on view at the CMA from Saturday, November 11, 2023, through Sunday, February 25, 2024.
- The Mobile Museum of Art’s Distillate of the Past (Fragment of the Past) (1958) is a large-scale Abstract Expressionist painting by Dusti Bongé (1903–1993), considered to be Mississippi’s first modern artist. This work will be on view at the CMA from April 6 through June 30, 2024.
With this Spotlight series, the American South Consortium aims to tell new and innovative stories with a unique emphasis on material culture among its curatorial offerings.
This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Cohort Program.
Image above: Yvonne Wells (American, born 1939). Helen Keller, 2006. Cotton/polyester blend, cotton, plastic buttons, embroidery thread, and lace. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase, 2012.11.