This week “The Historians” podcast features an interview with Richard Norton Smith who has spent 14 years writing On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller (Random House, 2014).
Rockefeller was Republican governor of New York State from 1959 to 1973, vice president of the United States from 1974 to 1977, and part of one of America’s most wealthy and influential families. In this interview Smith discusses Rockefeller’s role in destruction of Albany neighborhoods and creation of the Empire State Plaza. He describes Rockefeller’s service as an adviser to three Presidents (two Democrats), his expansion of the state university, his dyslexia, his love of modern art, his failed Presidential bids, the Attica prison uprising and the cover-up surrounding Rockefeller’s death while alone with a female intern. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
k In December, the Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) unveiled a new addition to the museum. The Poestenkill Lion returned to the museum after some conservation work and for the first time was displayed on the museum’s walls.
The lion first came to RCHS in 2011, when long-time RCHS supporters Hughes and Eva Gemmill donated the painting, which dates to about 1840 and is by an unknown artist. The lion was thinly painted with milk paint on four wide unfinished wood boards. Continue reading
The New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring contemporary Native American artwork. “Represent: Contemporary Native American Art” features twenty-one artworks created by eighteen artists from Native American Nations in New York State.
On display through September 20, 2015, the exhibition features a variety of contemporary Native American artwork. From baskets and beadwork to modern art, the artwork celebrates the traditional roots of Native American artistry through modern expression. Continue reading
There’s a new book out that is a must for lovers of Nyack and for anyone who enjoys a well told story of a town. For the past few years, Nyackers have looked forward every Tuesday to the Nyack Sketch Log by Bill Batson on the website Nyack News and Views.
Each week Bill explores an aspect of Nyack’s past or present through an original pen and ink sketch and a written essay. Now the best of Nyack Sketch Log is available in book form, and the individual entries coalesce into something even better – an illustrated biography of the community. Continue reading
The artist Marisol Escobar sculpts figures that are big and blunt, or bright and shiny, or whimsical and eerie. She has been called a New Realist, a surrealist and a Pop artist. Born in 1930 of Venezuelan parents, her friends and companions and mentors have included Hans Hofman, Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning.
The current exhibition at New York’s El Museo del Barrio is on view till January. Traveling from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee, the exhibit features some terrific portraits, juxtaposed with works on paper that reveal a slanted take on the family. Curator Marina Pacini has selected a brilliant sample of Marisol works to reveal the streak of pain underpinning the dazzling surfaces. Continue reading
Eight rarely seen notebooks created by Jean-Michel Basquiat between 1980 and 1987 that have never before been presented to the public form the core of a new exhibition, Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, on view at the Brooklyn Museum from April 3 through August 23, 2015.
The exhibition features 160 unbound notebook pages, filled with the artist’s handwritten texts and sketches, along with thirty related paintings, drawings, and mixed-media works drawn from private collections and the artist’s estate.
The building in my sketch at left, located in Haverstraw NY and the subject of Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, House by the Railroad, maintains its vigil on Route 9W. Hopper’s haunting depiction of the three-story house came to the attention of the cast and crew of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie classic, Psycho. The painting inspired not only the design of the Bates Mansion in the 1960 production, but the mood of the film as well.
House by the Railroad captures the fading elegance of this victorian-style home, located just south of St. Peter’s Cemetery. His composition shows a solitary structure, cut off from the world by a set of railroad tracks. Today, the building is still visually incarcerated by a heavily trafficked road, power lines, a chain linked fence and the railroad that gave the original painting its name and theme. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art has announced that it will install a special exhibition of Thomas Cole materials to coincide with Dr. Paul Schweizer’s lecture and book signing at the Albany Institute on Sunday, November 2, 2014, at 2 pm.
Dr. Schweizer is Director Emeritus of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute’s Museum of Art and will speak about his new book Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life as part of the Institute’s Making it American lecture series. The Albany Institute owns Cole’s original oil studies for the Voyage of Life series as well as the first concept drawing for his painting, “Youth.” This event is open to the public and free with museum admission. Continue reading
The New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring the work of New York artist Eugene Speicher. Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher explores Speicher’s diverse art career ranging from portraits to still life to landscape.
On display in West Gallery through March 22, 2015, the exhibition features more than 70 artworks by Speicher, who was born in Buffalo, NY. Continue reading
Who was Bridget? The idea behind Portrait Stories started when staff at Chapman Museum in Glens Falls, NY were doing research for the summer 2014 exhibit, At the Lake. Their curiosity was piqued by a photo of the Ranger family, in which every individual pictured was identified by name. Interestingly, for one woman, only her first name, Bridget, was provided.
Additional research turned up nothing about Bridget. One can assume from her name that she was Irish, and from her clothing that she was a maid. As a servant for the Ranger family, that summer she would have prepared and served meals, cleaned the cottage and cared for the young children. But then her story ends. Perhaps she married or moved on to another location; we simply do not know. Continue reading
Thomas Cole Historic Site will host a Community Day featuring free access to the site, live music, refreshments and family activities on Sunday, September 28th, from 1 to 4 pm, rain or shine.
Open for free visits will be Thomas Cole’s home and studio plus three art exhibitions: Master, Mentor, Master, featuring the 1845 period paintings of Thomas Cole and his young student Frederic Church; Postcards from the Trail 2014; and Thomas Cole’s Honey, Stanley Maltzman’s drawings of our 200-year-old Honey Locust tree. Continue reading
The Cayuga Museum of History and Art, in Auburn, NY has opened its newest exhibit, A Living Legacy: Arts of the Haudenosaunee, which features original art from more than a dozen artists from the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Among those exhibiting are Tom Huff, Trevor Brant, Eric Gansworth, Richard Glazer-Danay, Alex Hamer, Debra Hoag, G. Peter Jemison, Luis Lee, Penny Minner, Terrill Hooper O’Brien, Erwin Printup, and Marla Skye, and more. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians”, popular historian Thomas Cahill discusses his latest book, Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created our World.
In the second half of the show I talk with novelist April Smith about the novel A Star for Mrs. Blake. The novel is based on a federal program in the early 1930s that offered Gold Star Mothers an opportunity to go to Europe to visit the graves of their sons killed in World War One.
Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
The Museum of the City of New York announces Mac Conner: A New York Life – the first exhibition of more than 70 original artworks by illustrator McCauley (“Mac”) Conner, one of New York’s original “Mad Men.” In the 1940s – 60s, Conner’s captivating advertising and editorial illustrations graced the pages of major magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and The Saturday Evening Post, helping shape the popular image of postwar America.
The latest in an ongoing series of exhibitions that examines the lives and influence of New Yorkers, Mac Conner: A New York Life explores one man’s prolific career in New York as the world’s media capital and the country’s publishing center in the pivotal years after World War II. The exhibition will remain on view through Sunday, January 19, 2015. Continue reading
Women’s Rights National Historical Park will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15, 2014) with an artwork exhibition and gallery talk by the renowned artist Andrea Arroyo.
The exhibit will be on view from September 17th through October 15th, 2014, in the Women’s Rights NHP Visitor Center. On Saturday, September 27th, there will be a free artist talk and reception from 1-4 pm. Continue reading
The 2014-2015 series Exploring Schenectady’s Immigrant Past at the Schenectady County Historical Society will celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Schenectady County and will explore the history and significance of immigration in the region.
As part of the series, SCHS is has announced a Call for Submissions for its upcoming community-curated art exhibit, Where Do You Come From. The exhibit, made possible in part by a grant from the Schenectady County Initiative Project, will explore the wide range of cultures that makes up Schenectady County today. Community members, local artists, and students are all invited to submit their artwork, including but not limited to paintings, collages, photography, sculpture, or whichever medium best answers the title question. Continue reading
When printmaker Sylvia Roth moved into her home in South Nyack in 1977, she had no idea it was the birthplace of a major figure in American art, Joseph Cornell. This house on Piermont Avenue seems to have its own designs, selecting artistic occupants for over a century.
Emily Dickinson, Cornell’s enduring muse, wrote that “nature is a haunted house, but art is a house that tries to be haunted.” As Roth describes the creative output of subsequent generations of her family, one begins to suspect that this is a house haunted by art. Continue reading
The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY, has announced the gift of an extensive collection of nineteenth-century French etchings, lithographs, engravings, woodcuts, and books.
Donated by Tobin A. Sparling, in memory of his parents Leon H. and Marie Buttlar Sparling, the gift includes works by Pierre Bonnard, Félix Bracquemond, Jules Chéret, Eugene Delacroix, Maurice Denis, Henri Evenepoel, Jean-Louis Forain, Théodore Géricault, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, Alphonse Mucha, Paul Serusier, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Félix Vallotton, among others. Continue reading
The Museum of the City of New York has announced its Fall 2014 season, including Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao’sportrait of New York as seen through more than 40 large-scale panoramic photographs of the city’s urban landscape; an exhibition of hand-painted 1950s magazine illustrations by Mac Conner, one of New York’s original “Mad Men;” an immersive video art installation by Péter Forgácsthat appropriates home movies and travelogues made by Jewish New Yorkers during visits to Poland before World War II; and an extended viewing of City As Canvas—the first exhibition of New York graffiti art from the Martin Wong Collection. Continue reading
In a new biography being released in October by SUNY Press, The Last Amateur: The Life of William J. Stillman, author Stephen L. Dyson tells the story of William J. Stillman (1828–1901), a nineteenth-century polymath. Born and raised in Schenectady, NY, Stillman attended Union College and began his career as a Hudson River School painter after an apprenticeship with Frederic Edwin Church.
In the 1850s, he was editor of The Crayon, the most important journal of art criticism in antebellum America. Later, after a stint as an explorer-promoter of the Adirondacks, he became the American consul in Rome during the Civil War. When his diplomatic career brought him to Crete, he developed an interest in archaeology and later produced photographs of the Acropolis, for which he is best known today. Continue reading