The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, will present two new exhibitions from Apr. 8 through July 10, 2011, to coincide with the 150th anniversary observance of the start of the Civil War. Stephen Marc: Passage on the Underground Railroad, (Main Gallery) organized by the University at Buffalo Art Galleries, Buffalo, New York, features Marc’s fascinating photographs and digital montages that explore the history of freedom-seekers on the Underground Railroad. A Soldiers View of Civil War Charleston, (Rotunda Galleries) organized by the Gibbes, features paintings by artist and Confederate soldier Conrad Wise Chapman depicting Charleston during the war.

“The Civil War is certainly an important part of Charleston’s history, and our featured exhibitions offer two different perspectives of this time period. Conrad Wise Chapman’s paintings provide the first-hand view of a solder on the front lines, while Stephen Marc’s digital montages offer a contemporary take on slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the vestiges of the Civil War,” stated Pam Wall, Gibbes Curator of Exhibitions.

Photographer and digital montage artist Stephen Marc, winner of the Gibbes Museum 2009 Factor Prize for Southern Art, explores the history of North America’s freedom seekers in the exhibition Stephen Marc: Passage on the Underground Railroad. Since 2000, Marc has taken thousands of photographs of more than 100 historic sites in over thirty states and in Canada. With this body of work, Marc combines contemporary images with historic documents and artifacts to create richly-layered objects that bring the past palpably into the present.

The exhibition is comprised of two series: Underground Railroad sites and montages. In the sites series, Marc has documented the individual Underground Railroad locations with photographs taken inside and outside historical structures as well as the surrounding landscape. In the montage series, he marries the landscape to slavery through the use of plantation sites, primary source documents, and other remnants of slavery from diverse sources - many of them collected by the artist - and combines these with pertinent modern cultural references. Woven together digitally, the final images create narratives that generate insightful juxtapositions that help to tell the story of important sites plus the experiences that were occurring during and after the Civil War.

Marc received his BA from Pomona College in 1976 and his MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1978. He resides in Tempe, AZ, where he is a Professor of Art at Arizona State University. Marc’s work has been featured in many exhibitions including Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art at the Gibbes in 2008, Constellation, an invitational exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Center for Photography at Woodstock (where in 2001, Marc was Artist in Residence), and three exhibitions which were accompanied by book publications; Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers at the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Game Face: Women in Athletics at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; and Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for African History and Culture in Washington, DC.

The publication Stephen Marc: Passage on the Underground Railroad was released by Stephen Marc in conjunction with the University Press of Mississippi. For this exhibition and publication, Marc has received ongoing support from Olympus Imaging America Inc., as well as from the National Park Service as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. The exhibition at the Gibbes is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Charleston Magazine.

A Soldiers View of Civil War Charleston
features paintings depicting the batteries and forts around Charleston Harbor as painted by Conrad Wise Chapman (1842 – 1910) during the Civil War. The exhibition includes multiple paintings of Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie and a depiction of the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship. The Hunley was painted just two weeks before its final voyage.

Though Chapman spent many of his formative years in Rome, the American-born artist always considered himself a Southerner. In 1861, Chapman left Rome to enlist in the Confederate Army. As a soldier under the charge of General P. G. T. Beauregard, Chapman created his remarkable paintings, displayed for the first time in Charleston. The majority of these paintings are on loan to the Gibbes from The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA.

“This is the first time our entire collection of Chapman paintings have been exhibited outside of Richmond,” stated Waite Rawls, CEO and President of The Museum of the Confederacy, “and Charleston is clearly the place for that to happen. We are especially indebted to the Carolina Yacht Club for its assistance in conserving this important collection.”

The Museum of the Confederacy is a private, nonprofit educational institution. It houses the world’s largest collection of artifacts and documents related to the Confederate States of America. The Museum and White House of the Confederacy are located in downtown Richmond, VA.

A Soldiers View of Civil War Charleston is sponsored by Gibbes, etc. and Charleston Gateway magazine.

Several programs related to these exhibitions will be offered including: On Apr. 12, at 7pm - James McPherson will offer the lectures, Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War and Volunteers in Blue and Gray: Why They Fought. Free with admission. Reservations are suggested.

On Apr. 14, at 6pm - Tim Bolton will offer the lecture Winslow Homer and the Civil War. Free for Members; $10 for Non-Members.

On May 27, at 11am - Stephen Marc will conduct a tour of his exhibit. Free with admission.

James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian and the George Henry Davis 1986 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. His lecture will focus on the soldiers who volunteered to fight during this momentous event in American history. McPherson is the author of numerous books on the Civil War including For Cause and Comrades, winner of the Lincoln Prize; Drawn With the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War; and his Pulitzer Prize winner Battle Cry of Freedom. This lecture is part of the Lowcountry Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration, organized by the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust (

Architect and art historian Kenyon (Tim) C. Bolton III will provide insight into Winslow Homer’s development at the beginning of his career. Homer’s painted subjects of the Civil War culminated in the single most important image to symbolize that period. When the Civil War began in 1861, Winslow Homer was a young man beginning his artistic career. As a special correspondent for Harper’s Weekly, Homer spent extended periods of time on the front lines creating sketches of the soldiers and events he witnessed. Many of his sketches were reproduced in Harper’s as wood engravings, while others were later developed into oil paintings. Homer went on to achieve great success and is recognized as one of the most significant American artists of the nineteenth century.

Dr. Bolton holds a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University.

For further info check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call 843/722-2706 or visit (