Tag Archives: Art History

Adirondack Museum Monday Evening Lecture Series Set


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The Adirondack Museum has announced the presenters and lecture topics for the annual Monday Evening Lecture Series. Join the museum for the lecture series Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. in July and August.

The first evening, July 9, will be spent with Wildlife Conservation Society senior conservationist Bill Weber. Weber will present “Out of Africa and Into the Adirondacks: A Conservation Journey” lecture.

Lectures continue on July 16 with Charles Yaple and “Foxey Brown: The Story of an Adirondack Outlaw, Hermit, and Guide” lecture; July 23 with photographer Eric Dresser and “Capturing Adirondack Wildlife in Pictures;” July 30 with Environmental Historian Phil Terrie and “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and A Land Ethic for our Time” a film, commentary and discussion.

August begins with author Harvey Kaiser and “Great Camps of the Adirondacks: Second Edition” on August 6; August 13 with senior art historian Caroline M. Welsh and “A.F. Tait: Artist of the Adirondacks;” and will end on August 20 with rustic furniture artisan and painter, Barney Bellinger’s “Art, Furniture and Sculpture: Influenced by Nature” lecture.

The presentations will be offered at no charge to museum members; the fee for non-members is $5.00. For full descriptions of the lectures, visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.

The Adirondack Museum is open 7 days a week, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., through October 14. The museum will close at 3 p.m. on August 10 and September 7 for special event preparations.

Hyde Lectures Begin with Tiffany Glass Expert


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On Sunday, June 17, 2012, The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY will present Lindsy R. Parrott, director and curator of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, New York City. Beginning at 2pm in the Froehlich Auditorium, Parrott will speak about The Hyde’s new exhibition, Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, which was organized by the Neustadt Collection.  

Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light is part of the Museum’s “Summer of Light” which also includes Stephen Knapp: New Light in the Wood Gallery. Both exhibitions open June 17, 2012 and run through September 16, 2012. Continue reading

First Exhibit Devoted Solely to William Matthew Prior


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Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed, the first exhibition devoted solely to this American folk artist, has opened at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The exhibition includes over 40 oil paintings spanning his lifelong career from 1824 to 1856 and will be on view through December 31.

“Of the many 19th century folk portrait painters, William Matthew Prior is one of the most accomplished and interesting,” said Fenimore Art Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio. “The exhibition, expertly curated by Jacquelyn Oak, explores the blurry line between folk art and academic art in the early 19th century, and the intersection of folk art and the myriad reform and religious movements of the era.”
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Native Artisans at the Fenimore Art Museum


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The Fenimore Art Museum welcomes five Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists this summer to spend three days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American interpretive site, Otsego: A Meeting Place. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.

June 18-20: In addition to traditional pottery, Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating Haudenosaunee craft techniques. She will be creating pottery on site and sharing its relationship to Haudenosaunee tradition and stories.

July 17-19: Penelope S. Minner is a fourth-generation traditional artist making black ash splint baskets and cornhusk dolls. Working in the customary Seneca way, Penny uses no forms for basket shapes and sizes.

August 5-7: Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautiful decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork and embodying Iroquoisworldviews.

August 21-23: Ken Maracle creates beads from quahog shells and has been making reproduction wampum belts for more than 25 years. He also makes condolence canes, horn rattles, water drums, and traditional headdresses. He speaks the Cayuga language and is knowledgable about the history of wampum and his people.

August 30-September 1: Iroquois sculptor Vincent Bomberry carves images of Iroquois life in stone.

Artisans will be in the museum galleries and at Otsego: AMeeting Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the Artisan Series, visitors can explore the extraordinary Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a collection of over 800 objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures. Tours of Otsego: A Meeting Place and its Seneca Log House and Mohawk Bark House are also available.

Admission: adults and juniors (13-64) is $12.00; seniors (65+): $10.50; and free for children (12 and under). Admission is always free for NYSHA members, active military, and retired career military personnel. Members enjoy free admission all year.

For more information, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.

New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition at Brooklyn Museum


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The Brooklyn Museum is launching a borough-wide initiative in which Brooklyn-based artists will be invited to open their studios, allowing community members to visit and nominate artists for inclusion in a group exhibition to be held at the Museum.

Brooklyn Museum curators will visit the studios of top nominated artists to select works for the exhibition. The open studio weekend for GO: a community-curated open studio project will be held September 8 and 9. The exhibition will open during First Saturday on December 1, 2012, and will be on view through February 24, 2013.
Web and mobile technology will be a central component bringing artists and community together to share information and perspectives on art. All participants (artists, voters, and volunteers) will be able to create a personal online profile at the project’s website, www.gobrooklynart.org. Artist profiles will include photos of each artist and their studio, along with images and descriptions of their work. Volunteers will be connected with their respective neighborhoods online, and voters will have profiles that track their activity during the open studio weekend and provide a platform on which to share their perspectives.

“GO is a wide-ranging and unique project that will transform how Brooklyn communities engage in the arts by providing everyone with the chance to discover artistic talent and to be involved in the exhibition process on a grassroots level. Through the use of innovative technology, GO provides every Brooklyn resident with an extraordinary opportunity to participate in the visual arts in an unprecedented way,” says Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman.

The project launched on May 18th with volunteer registration. Volunteers will identify and work with local groups and businesses within specific neighborhoods to engage artists and potential studio visitors. The Brooklyn Museum will also partner with the Brooklyn Arts Council, open studio organizations, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, and Heart of Brooklyn to promote participation in GO. The New York City Housing Authority will also play an important role in engaging residents living in public housing developments in Brooklyn.

Artists will have an opportunity to register their studios at www.gobrooklynart.org in June. Artist registration will be followed by voter registration in August and early September. In October, Sharon Matt Atkins and Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, will make studio visits to the top nominated artists to select the work for the exhibition. Curators and community members will engage in a public dialogue about the selection of work.

GO continues the Brooklyn Museum’s long tradition of highlighting the borough’s community of artists. Since its 2004 exhibition, Open House: Working in Brooklyn, the largest survey to date of artists working in Brooklyn, the Museum has continued its commitment to Brooklyn artists with exhibitions by Fred Tomaselli, Lorna Simpson, and an upcoming exhibition by Mickalene Thomas, among others, and the current Raw/Cooked series of five exhibitions by under-the-radar Brooklyn artists.

A pioneer in crowd-sourced exhibitions, the Brooklyn Museum also presented Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition (2008), a photography show in which nearly 3,500 community members evaluated the work of 389 local photographers. More recently, Split Second: Indian Paintings (2011) invited the Museum’s online community to participate in the selection of works to be shown in an installation of Indian paintings.

The project organizers are Sharon Matt Atkins, Managing Curator of Exhibitions, and Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology. GO: a community-curated open studio project is inspired by two predecessors: ArtPrize, an annual publicly juried art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the long tradition of open studio events that take place each year throughout Brooklyn.

The project’s website will be updated throughout the process until the exhibition’s opening in December 2012.

Wilderstein’s Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit


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Wilderstein Historic Site will host a second exhibition of contemporary outdoor sculptures by emerging Hudson Valley artists beginning June 3. A preview party will be held on Saturday, June2, from 5 to 7 pm.

Participating artists include: Jan Abt, Benjamin Ayers, John Belardo, Andy Fennell, Sarah Haviland, Richard Heinrich, Jeremy Holmes, Steve Keltner, Malcolm MacDougall, J. Pindyck Miller and Craig Usher.

Wilderstein is a historic house museum in Rhinebeck, New York. The estate, with its exquisite Queen Anne mansion and Calvert Vaux designed landscape, is widely regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture. The last person to reside at Wilderstein was Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, whose relationship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been well-chronicled and is the subject of much interest. Gift shop, hiking trails, and spectacular Hudson River views.

The exhibition will be open daily between 9 am and 4 pm through the end of October. Sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

Tickets for the preview party are $25 and reservations are encouraged. RSVP to 845.876.4818 or wilderstein@wilderstein.org

Major Exhibit of American Impressionsist Masters


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A rare grouping of paintings and sketches from American Impressionist masters will highlight the summer season at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life, on view May 26 – September 16, will showcase groundbreaking artists including Childe Hassam,William Merritt Chase, Mary Cassatt, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and others. These adaptors of the French Impressionist style revolutionized the American art scene in the late 19th century and ultimately paved the way to a uniquely American style of painting.

American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life features 26 paintings, dating from 1881 to 1942, representing nearly every noted American Impressionist from the period. “The paint, the color, and the light in these works separated them from anything that had been done in this country before,” said Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio. “They can truly be called some of the first, modern American paintings.”

Impressionism was a painting style imported to America after the 1880s. The major catalyst was Paris-based art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel’s 1886 exhibition of French Impressionist paintings in New York. Comprising nearly 300 paintings by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and others, the exhibition marked the beginning of serious interest in Impressionist art on behalf not only of American collectors, but also American painters.

The artists represented in American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life were among the first generation of American painters to utilize the techniques of their French counterparts, such as a brighter palette and the use of broken brushwork. While using innovative techniques, they were traditional in their selection of subject matter, seeking out and painting colorful landscapes, beach scenes, urban views, and perspectives of small town life. The artists had a particular interest in the way light could be captured on canvas.

“The Impressionists believed there was a lot more going on with the play of light on various surfaces than people realized, and that’s what they wanted to express in their painting,” D’Ambrosio added.

These works are on loan from several sources, including The Arkell Museum (Canajoharie, NY), The Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme, CT), The Parrish Museum (Southampton, NY), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). The exhibition will also feature Bridge at Dolceacqua (1884) by Claude Monet (Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA), an excellent example of French Impressionism that inspired and influenced these American artists.

Illustration: Provincetown, 1900, by Childe Hassam (1859-1935), oil on canvas. Owned by the Arkell Museum Collection, Gift of Bartlett Arkell.

Brooklyn Museum Acquires Rare Folding Screen


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An extremely rare mother-of-pearl-inlaid Mexican folding screen, commissioned about 1700 by the viceroy of New Spain has been purchased by the Brooklyn Museum from Salvart Limited in London.

The work was officially accessioned by the Museum’s Board of Trustees on April 19. Representing a combination of Asian, European, and American artistic traditions, this six-panel screen is encrusted with mother-of-pearl and painted with oil and tempera.


At the time it was acquired, it was the only recorded surviving shell-inlaid folding screen, or biombo enconchado, that remained in private hands. The funds for this acquisition came from the proceeds of the sale of Vasily Vereshchagin’s Crucifixion by the Romans (1887), which was sold last November at Christie’s London for nearly $2.7 million to benefit the Brooklyn Museum’s Acquisition’s Fund.

These panels constitute half of a twelve-panel screen, created after Asian models by artists working in the circle of the celebrated González family in Mexico City, where it was displayed in the state rooms of the capital’s viceregal palace. The other half of the screen is in the collection of the Museo Nacional del Virreinato in Tepotzotlán, Mexico. The complete screen was commissioned by José Sarmiento de Valladares y Aines, the count of Moctezuma y Tula, during his reign as viceroy of New Spain from 1696 to 1701. Appointed by Spain’s last Habsburg king, Charles II, Sarmiento declared his allegiance to the Habsburg dynasty in the New World by having the front of his monumental folding screen painted with a major Habsburg victory over the Ottoman Empire, a scene from the Great Turkish War (1683-87). He requested a hunting scene modeled in part after prints by the Medici court painter Johannes Stradanus for the back of the screen, which would have served as a backdrop for the women’s sitting room in the palace. Both sides of the screen are framed with a mother-of-pearl encrusted floral decorative border inspired by Japanese lacquerware created for the export market.

In 1701, only one year after Spain’s new Bourbon king, Philip V, had ascended to the throne, Sarmiento, a Habsburg-appointed viceroy, was recalled to Spain; he returned with his prized biombo enconchado in tow. The screen was later divided into two in Europe, and one half found its way to the United States by 1965, when it was recorded in a private collection in San Francisco; it entered the Museo Nacional del Virreinato by 1970. The Brooklyn Museum’s half of the screen was in England (Yoxford, Suffolk) for generations, in the collection of Cockfield Hall, until the family sold its residual contents, including the screen, at auction through Phillips East Anglia in 1996.

Japanese folding screens, which inspired the format of Mexican biombos, were introduced to the Americas in the early seventeenth century as both diplomatic gifts from Japanese embassies and as elite Asian exported goods. Asian screens found immediate favor with the viceroyalty’s prosperous elite, and by the 1630s local artists were re-creating the screens in a new world style for privileged private collectors. Paintings inlaid with mother-of-pearl (pinturas enconchadas), of which this work is also an exceptional example, developed later, about 1660, by Mexican artists who combined the European art of tempera and oil painting with Asian and Mexican lacquer and mother-of-pearl encrustation techniques.

This extraordinary six-panel screen will be the highlight of Behind Closed Doors: Power and Privilege in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898, a traveling exhibition organized by Richard Aste, Curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where it will be on view September 20, 2013, through January 12, 2014, before continuing on to three additional U.S. venues.

Also accessioned at the same board meeting and purchased with funds from the sale of the Vereshchagin painting is Hacienda La Fortuna (1885), an Impressionist landscape of southern Puerto Rico by Francisco M. Oller (Puerto Rican, 1833-1917). As the most important Puerto Rican painter of his era, Oller was commissioned by the Barcelona émigré José Gallart Forgas to paint a series of portraits of his five Puerto Rican sugar plantations. The Museum’s new acquisition is an early morning view of Gallart’s most important plantation, La Fortuna, with rural workers gathering sugarcane before the planter’s home (seen in the distance), his warehouse at left, and his sugar mill at right. Hacienda La Fortuna was the only one of Gallart’s five hacienda painting commissions that Oller completed for his Spanish patron.

Oller was born and raised in San Juan but trained in Madrid and Paris, where he quickly fell under the spell of the Realist painter Gustave Courbet and painted with his friends Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. The Puerto Rican Realist and Impressionist painter exhibited at several of the Paris Salons and at the 1875 Salon des Refusés. Back home, Oller took an active role in the abolitionist movement–slavery was finally abolished in Puerto Rico in 1873–and in pedagogy, establishing several art schools in the island’s capital.

Beginning June 6, Oller’s masterpiece of Puerto Rican industrial landscape painting will be on view in the Museum’s European gallery alongside paintings by his fellow avant-garde artists Courbet, Pissarro, and Claude Monet. Hacienda La Fortuna will later join the shell-inlaid Mexican folding screen in the Behind Closed Doors exhibition.

Image: Circle of the González Family (Mexican, late 17th to early 18th century). Folding Screen with the Siege of Belgrade (front) and Hunting Scene (reverse), ca. 1697-1701. Tempera and resin on wood, shell inlay (enconchado), 90 1/2 x 108 5/8 in. (229.9 x 275.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband John W. Brown, by exchange, 2012.21

Exec Dir David Setford to Leave Hyde Collection


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The Hyde Collection has announced that David F. Setford has informed the Board of Trustees that he intends to leave his post as Executive Director in August. A nationwide search will be conducted to identify a successor.

Setford, who has led the Hyde for four and a half years, spearheaded high-profile exhibitions including Degas and Music in 2009 and Andrew Wyeth: An American Legend in 2010 and oversaw a successful $3 million capital campaign. He has accepted a position with International Fine Art Expositions in Florida, as Managing Executive directing international art fairs in Palm Beach and Miami. Continue reading

Lecture: Using Artwork in Historical Research


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Traditional historical research draws primarily upon the written word- such as letters, journals, memorials, official documents and historical publications. Historians have shown less interest in historical visual arts that are often as important as written ones. In a lecture entitled “A Striking Likeness: Using Artwork for Historical Research and Using Research to Study Artwork,” Saratoga National Historical Park Historian Eric Schnitzer will take a brief look at artwork focusing on themes related to the American War for Independence and how careful study of the visual arts can add new dimensions to our understanding of the past.

The event will be held at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site (in Orange County) on Thursday, April 26th at 7 PM.

PLEASE NOTE: Seating is limited to 50. You may reserve seats by calling 845-446-2134. Leave your name, phone number and number of people in your party.

Illustration: The Burial of General Fraser engraved by William Nutter, after John Graham, published by John Jeffryes, May 1, 1794.

Lecture on Thomas Cole’s ‘New Studio’ Sunday


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In 1974, an Italianate building that Thomas Cole had designed and used as his painting studio in the mid-19th century was demolished. It had fallen into disrepair and the art movement that Thomas Cole had founded, the Hudson River School, had fallen out of favor. Over the years, the site was overcome with trees and shrubs, and the exact location of the former building was lost.

The site is now part of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and the building is in the process of being revived. This Sunday, April 15 at 2 pm, the art history professor from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, Julie Levin Caro, will be at the Thomas Cole site to speak about this piece of history – the building that Cole designed as his “dream studio”.

The talk is the last event in the series of Sunday Salon lectures, which take place once per month from January through April at the home of Thomas Cole, where the Hudson River School began. Tickets are $8 per person, or $6 for members, and admission is first-come-first-served.

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Len Tantillo: The Edge of New Netherland


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A uniquely illustrated history of New Netherland, New Sweden, early North American fortification design, and the construction of Fort Cashmir (New Castle, Delaware) has been published for the New Netherland Institute. The Edge of New Netherland by L. F. Tantillo explores life in the Dutch colony and competition between European powers by focusing on the construction of regional forts, and the trade they engendered.

Tantillo provides readers with new insight into life on “the edge of New Netherland,” where two small groups of colonists – one Dutch, the other Swedish ­– fought to control access to the Delaware River and thus the trade in Indian furs, and later, English tobacco. Decades before British forces captured this territory in a power grab that remade colonial North America, fortifications were built and re-built, deals made and settlements established.

While The Edge of New Netherland (L.F. Tantillo, 2011) examines, in beautifully illustrated detail, the broader aspects of daily life on the Dutch, Swedish, English and Indian borderlands of North America, it focuses on the history of one wood and dirt fortress. Built in 1651 by the Dutch and destroyed in 1664 by the British, Fort Casimir largely failed as a defensive bulwark, but it helped anchor the growing settlement of New Amstel, now New Castle, Delaware.

The Edge of New Netherland includes more than 100 drawings accompanied by explanatory text, a historical overview of the Delaware River by Charles T. Gehring, and commentary by Peter A. Douglas.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Former MWPAI President Milton Bloch Dies


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Milton J. Bloch, former president of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI), died in his home in Charlotte, NC last week. He was 74.

Bloch, an artist, author, administrator, educator and philanthropist, served as president of MWPAI from January 1991 through December 2008. During his tenure he led the Institute through the largest period of growth in its more than 80-year history. By investing in excess of $25 million, he doubled the size of the campus which led to the renovation of the west side community.

MWPAI President Anthony Spiridigloizzi, who served 18 years as vice president with Bloch, said Bloch’s leadership forever changed MWPAI. “He was more than a ‘boss.’ He was a mentor and an inspiration,” he said. “He treated everyone with respect; there were no ideas that he didn’t consider valuable. He was a decent man who made a positive difference.””

Expansion and growth projects under Bloch’s tenure were numerous. Major accomplishments included: renovating the Museum of Art Interior; constructing an education wing connecting the Museum of Art building with Fountain Elms which also includes an underground storage facility to house the Museum’s collection; and revamping the former Fleet bank building on Genesee Street into a modern dance studio.

Bloch also initiated two major exhibitions, “Splendors of the New World,” which opened in 1992 and the inaugural American tour of “Soul of Africa: African Art from the Han Coray Collection” in 1998.

In 1999, he was instrumental in the creation of PrattMWP, a joint venture between MWPAI and Pratt Institute. This initiative included the construction of a new school of art studio building, student center, dormitories and library/academic building

Spiridigloizzi added that the physical changes were only a small part of Bloch’s legacy and that his greatest achievement was how he changed the working atmosphere for the Institute. “He opened everything up for the staff. He valued everyone and never turned anyone away. He loved hearing new ideas and allowed everyone to participate in decision making,” he said.

In 1998, MWPAI received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; and in 2002, received the Outstanding Upstate Arts Organization award presented by the Alliance for NY State Arts Organizations. In 2002 Bloch received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American Lung Association.

Upon his appointment, Bloch pledged a complete immersion in the Institute and the community-at-large. During his tenure he advised and assisted more than 50 area organizations including The Utica Symphony, Sculpture Space, JCTOD, GroWest, the City of Utica, Village of New Hartford and the Oneida County Historical Society. He has served as President of the Boards of Trustees for Faxton-St. Lukes Healthcare and The Community Foundation of Herkimer Oneida Counties.

“There are many organizations that were fortunate to benefit from his experience and willingness to devote his time to others,” Spiridigloizzi said. “He was a decent man who made a positive difference.”

Bloch was a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York City with a degree in industrial design. He also has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Florida. After graduation, he became head of the art department in a community college in central Florida, and then director of the Pensacola Art Center in Pensacola, Florida. He has held positions as director of the Museum of Science and History in Little Rock, Arkansas, director of the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey, and for 14 years was executive director of the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bloch is survived by his wife, Mary Karen Vellines, daughters Kimberly Laakso and Farrell Hudzik, brother J. Stanley Bloch, and four grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Mint Museum, 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 310 Genesee St., Utica, N.Y. 13502.

Brooklyn Museum Opening Cross-Collection Installation


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An innovative installation approach, featuring some of the most important objects in the Brooklyn Museum collection, has been developed to create new ways of looking at art and exploring the Museum by making connections between cultures as well as objects. Scheduled to open on April 19, 2012, Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn, on long-term view in the newly renovated Great Hall, near the main entrance, provides for the first time a dynamic introduction to the Museum’s extensive collections, which range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, representing almost every culture around the world, both past and present.

“This remarkable cross-collection presentation, built around some of the most exceptional works in the Museum, better enables the visitor to explore the collection galleries by providing a model of how to make connections between cultures and how to better understand the ways that different peoples have addressed many of the same issues throughout time,” states Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman. “For the very first time, our visitors have the opportunity to sample the breadth and depth of our holdings as they enter the Museum.”

“Over the course of the twentieth century, the Museum collected on a grand scale, making works of art that had previously been reserved primarily for the elite available to the public. As works of art became available to the many rather than the few, their meanings often changed. Deconstructing those meanings on a basic level provides an understanding of the Brooklyn Museum’s collections as a resource for study,” comments Chief Curator Kevin L. Stayton, who has coordinated the presentation, working with the Museum’s curators.

The installation is organized around three main sections: “Connecting Places,” “Connecting People,” and ‘Connecting Things.” In viewing the juxtaposition and combination of works from different cultures around the world, the visitor will be asked to consider the importance of the idea of place to the definition of culture and the self; the ways in which people represent themselves in the works of art that help define them; and the role of objects, or things, in supporting identity, both personal and cultural.

The “Connecting Places” section presents artworks that reflect the human fascination with the physical world around us and how it relates to spirituality. The landscapes in which people live and the elements of nature that surround them deeply affect the way people see the world and how they try to understand the universe. This section includes a four-legged bowl (circa 250-600 C.E.), made in what is now Guatemala, that reveals a Mayan concept of the cosmos; an eighteenth-century cosmic diagram, made in Gujarat or Rajasthan, that presents a unique worldview; the monumental 1765 painting Our Lady of Chocharcas Under the Baldachin showing the celebration of a pilgrimage in which Lake Titicaca is almost as significant as the statue of the Virgin herself; a festival hat, probably made around Potosi in the eighteenth century, depicting a triangular mountain that might be the Cerro de Potosi, the source of the silver that enriched the area; Louis Rémy Mignon’s monumental painting Niagara (1866), which became a powerful symbol of natural resources that made their potential seem almost limitless; the renowned Century Vase made by the Union Porcelain Works of Brooklyn for display at the Centennial Exposition, in 1876, displaying native animals and scenes of progress unique to the American experience; and a contemporary work, Soundsuit by Nick Cave, that explores man’s involvement with nature.

The “Connecting People” section investigates the ways in which human beings have represented themselves in artworks, in various cultures through time. A number of the works address the journey from life to death, such as a stunning and rare Huastec stone statue that features a standing human figure on one side and a skeleton on the other. Other works include a kachina doll, in the Brooklyn Museum collection since 1904, that reflects the ways in which the human form can represent the spiritual and universal; and Gaston Lachaise’s monumental Standing Woman, a modern work that dignifies the human form and raises it to a level that reflects the humanist tradition.

The “Connecting Things” section includes works that carry particular significance to those who make and use them. Among the objects is a group of more than 100 pitchers to illustrate the many permutations of a single form; kero cups used in ritualistic ceremonies that were important to the Andean concept of reciprocity; a coffin in the form of a Nike sneaker, by Ghanaian artist Paa Joe, that reflects the importance of consumer society and global trade in the modern world; and an African staff, a symbol of authority that is the model for an African-American emancipation cane.

The installation was designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer at the Brooklyn Museum, working together with Chief Curator Kevin Stayton, Director Arnold Lehman, and all of the Museum’s curators.

Image: Louis Rémy Mignot (American, 1831-1870)’s “Niagara, 1866″, A Gift of Arthur S. Fairchild. Courtesy the Brooklyn Museum.

Forum: 1979 Hudson Valley Nuclear Decision


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In 1979, a nuclear power plant was nearly built on the Hudson River in plain view of Olana State Historic Site. The Olana Partnership is presenting a panel discussion on Saturday, February 25, about this little-known incident in Hudson Valley history.

For the first time ever, three key players in this debate will unite and recount this game-changing episode, and how each played an important role. The panelists, Carl Petrich, J. Winthrop Aldrich, and Richard Benas, will discuss the unprecedented and nationally significant approach of considering the visual impact of a nuclear power plant in a region. Dorothy Heyl, a member of Olana’s Landscape/Viewshed Committee, will moderate.

In 1977, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Power Authority of the State of New York held hearings on siting a nuclear power plant just south of Catskill in Cementon. The cooling tower, at a height of 450 feet, would have been visible for many miles. Thirty-five stories tall, it would have been 250 feet in diameter at its highest point and discharged a prominent plume. On some days, the plume would have obscured views of the Catskill Mountains from many locations, including Olana.

In the late 1970s, Carl Petrich, one of the panelists, worked as a landscape architect on the research staff of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Through an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Oak Ridge produced an Environmental Impact Statement for this project. Petrich immersed himself in Hudson River School history and the designed landscape of Frederic Church’s Olana. His conclusion—that the viewshed from Olana was of national importance and warranted protection—changed history. The resulting Environmental Impact Statement caused the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff to recommended denial of a construction license for the proposed nuclear power plant. This was the first and only time that such a recommendation had been made on any grounds—let alone environmental or aesthetic.

J. Winthrop Aldrich, a Hudson Valley resident and long-time public servant, worked with counsel for local groups opposing the siting of the plant in Cementon. He was a proponent of assuring that the impact of the project on historic and scenic resources would be formally weighed in the decision making.

Richard Benas, then at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, testified in hearings on the proposed plant. Based on this experience, Benas later developed visual impact guidelines which are now used to insure compliance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, SEQRA.

Testimony at the hearings on the significance of the Olana Viewshed included some by David Huntington, who had earlier led the successful preservation effort that saved Olana in 1967. More than 30 years ago, Huntington testified, “Olana is a monument and site whose significance will be increasingly appreciated by the American people.”

The three panelists, Petrich, Aldrich and Benas, will share their memories of a crucial, but mostly forgotten chapter in the preservation of a national historic landmark and its spectacular viewshed. “It’s surprising how few people know about this episode in this region,” noted Mark Prezorski, Landscape Curator for The Olana Partnership. “In some ways, it’s similar to the Storm King Mountain preservation effort, with far reaching effects.”

“This discussion, while it addresses the prospect of a nuclear power plant, is not about nuclear energy,” commented Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership. “It is the story of how the importance of the Olana Viewshed factored into the siting of a plant, and how this mattered on a national and regional level.”

“Olana is famous for its breath-taking panoramic views that draw thousands of visitors to this magnificent historic site every year,” said Kimberly Flook, Site Manager of Olana Historic Site. “It was Frederic Church’s vision that actively shaped his landscape to frame the Hudson Valley’s unique natural beauty.”

The panel discussion will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 25 in Hudson, NY, at Stair Galleries (549 Warren Street). A suggested donation of $10 can be paid at the door, and admission is free for all members of The Olana Partnership. A reception will follow. More information is available online at olana.org or by phoning The Olana Partnership at 518.828.1872. RSVPs appreciated.

Photo: View from Olana with Superimposed Simulated Nuclear Cooling Towers (detail), 1979, photograph #4363-77, Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Dept. of Energy.

‘Girl With a Pearl Earing’ Coming to the Frick


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The Frick Collection has announced that in the fall of 2013, it will be the final venue of an American tour of paintings from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague. This prestigious Dutch museum, which has not lent a large body of works from its holdings in nearly thirty years, is undergoing an extensive two-year renovation that makes this opportunity possible. Between January 2013 and January 2014, the Mauritshuis will send thirty-five paintings to the United States, following two stops at Japanese institutions.

The American exhibition opens next winter at de Young/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, traveling on to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for the summer of 2013. A smaller selection of ten masterpieces will be on view at The Frick Collection in New York from October 22, 2013, through January 12, 2014. Among the works going on tour are the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer and The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, neither of which will have been seen by American audiences in ten years.

Illustration: Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665, oil on canvas, 44.5 x 39 cm, Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Adks: Howling Wilderness to Vacation Destination


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The Adirondack Museum third 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Nature: From Howling Wilderness to Vacation Destination” will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2012. The event will be offered free of charge.

Drawing on landscape painting, photography, traveler’s accounts, and other sources, this presentation by Dr. Charles Mitchell will explore the evolution of American attitudes towards nature. Beginning with perceptions of the American landscape as a howling wilderness, a wasteland to be tamed and transformed, the lecture will trace the social, cultural and economic forces that led to the perception of wild nature as something of value to be experienced and preserved. Key topics and figures along the way include the sublime, romanticism, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School, John Muir, Ansel Adams, and the Lorax.

Dr. Charles Mitchell is Associate Professor of American Studies at Elmira College. Mitchell has been on the faculty of Elmira College since 1993. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Lynbrook (on Long Island) he still occasionally refers to everything north of Yonkers as “upstate.” He teaches a side variety of courses in American cultural history, with specific
interests in environmental history, the history of ideas about nature, and the representation of the landscape in literature and art.

This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.

Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibition at the Hyde Collection


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The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, Warren County, has announced it will present the exhibition Toulouse-Lautrec & Company: Prints from the Belle Époque. On view in Hoopes Gallery from March 3, 2012 through May 27, 2012, the exhibition will feature ten lithographs by Toulouse-Lautrec and approximately twenty prints by his contemporaries including Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Jules Chéret (1836-1932), Maurice Denis (1870-1943), Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), and Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940). Continue reading

RC Oster Historic Architecture Exhibit Opening


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An opening reception will be held for “Drawing on our Past: Ink Darwings of New York State’s Historic Architecture,” an exhibition of drawings by David ‘RC’ Oster at View, formerly the Old Forge Arts Center, tomorrow, Saturday, February 4 from 5 ­to 7 pm. His works will be displayed from February 4 ­ March 3 concurrently with “Adirondack View Finders” a photography exhibition that showcases top Adirondack Photographers including Nathan Farb, Nancie Battaglia, Mark Bowie, and Carl Heilman.

RC Oster is a self-taught artist who specializes in free-hand ink drawings of regional landmarks and Adirondack scenes. He is particularly well known for his drawings of historic buildings. RC sees these landmarks as “proud reminders of where we as a society have been.” He carefully captures fine details of these buildings from sharp angles that show off the architecture of the building. He seeks to bring further awareness to these buildings
through capturing their fine details.

Stone sculpture by Matt Horner will be on display with both the photography and the ink drawings. Exhibition admission is $10/$5 members and groups of 6+/Children under 12
free. View is a multi-arts center located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY. To learn more about View programming visit www.ViewArts.org or call 315-369-6411.