by Nick Smith
To open its new gallery space in the Cato Building, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art needed some spectacular art to get people talking. As usual, senior curator/director Mark Sloan didn’t take the obvious route and showcase a flamboyant, popular artist. He devoted the entire space to Aldwyth, an underappreciated 74-year-old woman from a South Carolina coastal island. Old age doesn’t always equate with old ideas. Aldwyth creates incredibly complex collages and assemblages, using scrapbook photographs and influential images to reflect on her own life and the way we catalogue our experiences. With art ranging in size from cigar-box small to stunningly large, the exhibition was mind-boggling in its scope. It was combined with a mysterious eye-centric marketing campaign and an irreverent vein of humor (one assemblage was called “22 Eyeballs, 1 Asshole”), proving that it’s never too late to have your first major art museum exhibition or amaze people with your imagination.
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