Arts & Culture

Butch Anthony Brings His Found Object Art to Charleston

Until February 29, work from Alabama’s Museum of Wonder artist is on display at the Halsey Museum of Contemporary Art

Photo: Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston

A display from the INSIDE/OUT exhibition at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art.

The Alabama artist Butch Anthony loves bones. “I’ve just always liked fossils, I guess,” he says in a gentle Mister Rogers drawl. Finding a sixty-five-million-year-old dinosaur bone in a creek behind his home when he was fourteen got him hooked on all things skeletal. Now femurs and ribs, along with found objects, compose Anthony’s art: portraits overlaid with sketches of bones and three-dimensional collages filled with tiny skulls that today hang in such places as the Brick and Mortar antique store in Atlanta and in Billy Reid’s shop in Florence, Alabama, and that tour around the world.

photo: Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston
One of Anthony’s portraits.

An exhibition is currently on display in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Halsey Insitute of Contemporary Art. INSIDE/OUT runs until the end of February, and on February 29 at 2 p.m., the museum will host a free artist talk, opening its doors to the public for a conversation with Anthony about his life, artistic process, and the exhibition.

photo: Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston
A peek inside the INSIDE/OUT exhibition at the Halsey.

If you won’t be in Charleston this month, travel to Anthony’s home base: a visit to his Museum of Wonder—an eighty-acre buffet of oddness in Seale, Alabama—is worth a weekend trip this spring, when you can begin comfortably cruising with the windows down. Meander through his twenty-four-hour Drive-Thru Museum of shipping containers with cutout diorama windows revealing sculptures and oddities such as a two-headed duck and a woolly mammoth jawbone. And you need not leave empty-handed—there’s a community gathering for stories and an auction every Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Anthony’s nearby Possum Trot auction house. Doll parts, mystery taxidermy, discarded Piggly Wiggly signs, and Anthony’s original works can all be yours.