For Immediate Release

Media Contacts: Melanie Mathos / Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates /
(843) 371-1363 / (843) 410-5306


Gibbes Museum of Art Acquires First Video Art Installation in the State

Like Tears in Rain video art installation added to museum’s permanent collection

(Charleston, SC) – Janet Biggs’ video installation Like Tears in Rain joins the Gibbes’ collection as the first video art object acquired by a museum in the state of South Carolina. Currently installed in the Rotunda Gallery through August 12, Like Tears in Rain combines large scale footage of the Citadel’s elite Summerall Guard drill team with a champion equestrian who has been blind from early youth. Juxtaposed beside these images is a video of captive polar bears swimming repetitively in their small pool. At first glance one may be unsettled by the intensity and divergence of the imagery in Like Tears in Rain , but upon further contemplation the viewer recognizes the obsessive commitment involved in the choices we make and the frustration that is instinctive in all living creatures to have mastery over free will.

For over a century the Gibbes has been instrumental in bringing cutting-edge art to the Lowcountry and for supporting the work of artists who push forward the definition of art. Todd Smith, Executive Director of the Gibbes recently remarked, “The Gibbes Museum of Art is an institution equally devoted to collecting the art of our past and promoting art of our time, so it was only fitting that we embrace work that utilizes new media. The icing on the cake for this particular acquisition was the inextricable connection that this work has with the historical legacy of one of the Lowcountry’s prime institutions, the Citadel.”

Video art traces its origins to the pioneering work of artists Nam June Paik, Bill Viola and Bruce Naumann who introduced video technologies into their sculptural and room-sized installations in the 1960s and 1970s. With the emergence of more portable video technology in the 1980s, many traditionally trained artists began to experiment with video as an additional means for bringing their vision to fruition. By the 1990s, video art had taken a pre-eminent place within the art world in galleries and museum exhibitions. For leading-edge artists, video allows freedom of expression that can incorporate moving imagery, sound, narrative and anti-narrative strategies.

A trained equestrian and equestrian instructor, Biggs earned a BFA from the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and completed graduate work at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is formally trained in painting and sculpture and began exploring video and new media in the early 1990s. Biggs has exhibited at numerous institutions throughout the United States and abroad including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and the San Francisco Art Institute. She currently resides in New York City.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. The Gibbes is currently undergoing major renovations and will reopen in the spring of 2016. The renovated museum will properly showcase its extensive collections and will feature an admission-free ground floor, providing a place to watch artists at work in studios and stroll through a world-class garden.

135 Meeting Street | Charleston, SC | 29401