Society 1858 Celebrates Donté K. Hayes as Winner of Prize for Contemporary Southern Art
The month of February was filled with celebration and conversation surrounding contemporary Southern art as Society 1858 and the Gibbes Museum of Art welcomed the 2019 Prize winner Donté K. Hayes to Charleston for the Amy P. Coy Forum and Winter Party. Hayes, a Georgia-based ceramicist, explores themes in Afrofuturism, a projected vision of an imagined future that critiques the historical and cultural events of the African Diaspora and the distinct black experience of the Middle Passage. Hayes was awarded a $10,000 cash prize and his latest work Sanctuary is now on view in the Gibbes’ Mary Jackson Modern and Contemporary Gallery for one year. The introduction of artwork on display by the winner is a new initiative for the Museum, with the intention to further provide visibility for the winning artist as well as the opportunity for the community to experience first-hand who the Museum recognizes as a leader for contemporary art in the South.
Donté K. Hayes was in great company as the community gathered for the Amy P. Coy Forum on Thursday, February 6. Review Panelists for the 2019 Prize call for submissions—Anne Collins Smith, Curator of Collections at Spelman Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta, GA and Alex Paik, co-founder and artist of Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, NY—joined the conversation with Gibbes Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs, Sara Arnold, and Society 1858 Board members Jay Benson and Emily Broome, to discuss Hayes’ work and how ceramics is experiencing a renaissance in the curatorial and commercial art world. The panel dialogue dove into themes of displacement, Afro-futurism, claiming space as an artist of color, and the growing inclusivity within institutions’ collections and programming. Finalists Herb Parker, Damian Stamer, and Michi Meko were also in attendance during the events earlier this month.
The Winter Party, a black-tie event, took place the following evening on February 7th with the annual Art Raffle generously provided by Charleston-based artists. Curated by Hirona Matsuda, 1858 Board Member, and Erin Nathanson of the Gibbes Museum, this year’s artists were paired up and challenged to create a one-of-a-kind sculptural work with ceramics as the foundation. The results were astounding and have inspired on-going collaborations for several of the featured artists. Participating artists included: Liv Antonecchia x Matt Wilson, Ruth Ballou x Kristy Bishop, Fiorenzo Berardozzi x Tim Hussey, Susan Gregory x Dontré Major, Susan Klein x Adam Eddy, Jeff Kopish x Hirona Matsuda, Annie Rhodes Lee x Jocelyn Châteauvert, Allison McDermott x Camela Guevara, Jena Pallar x Lese Corrigan, and Maria White x Megan Aline and Robert Lange.
These events raised funds to support the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art in future years.
—Erin Nathanson, Director of Contemporary Initiatives and Public Engagement, Gibbes Museum of Art
Published February 21, 2020
Top image: 1858 Prize winner Donte K. Hayes stands with his work, Sanctuary, on view at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Photograph by MCG Photography