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