By CORNELIA SECKEL
ART TIMES Jan/ Feb 2010
The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA) is quite a force in the Hudson Valley art scene. Founded by the Marc and Livia Straus family, this non-profit arts and education organization is dedicated to the development and presentation of exhibitions and interdisciplinary programs that enrich the understanding of contemporary art, its contexts, and its relationship to social issues. HVCCA is also committed to the enrichment of Peekskill, a multicultural community that has recreated itself as a major arts destination. The 12,000 square foot space (24’ ceilings) currently showing “Double Dutch”, an exhibition celebrating the Quadricentennial of the Dutch discovery and settlement of the Hudson River is on view through July 26, 2010. Several pieces are along the Hudson River waterfront in Peekskill. I prepared a short video that can be seen on our website www.arttimesjournal.com that gives an overview of the work of the16 artists who are represented. I must say that I was most intrigued with Job Koelewijn’s Sanctuary made of wood, books, and metal (16’ x 3.5’ x 49’) — fuel for the mind. All the artists in the exhibit are Dutch or, as HVCCA puts it, “have a Dutch ‘soul’”. Some of the work was created on site in their artist-in-residence program that continues to involve intricately within the community. In addition to Double Dutch, HVCCA has sponsored the “Tile Project” featuring over 2,000 tiles from over 30 schools, troupes and programs that were created by students from across the Hudson Valley. A call went out to art teachers to the towns along the Hudson River. These tiles tell the story of the Dutch influence. Participating school districts received a curriculum from HVCCA and reading sources on the history of the Hudson Valley and they were to design tiles reflecting their own artistic, cultural, geographic, social and political heritage. The students' art works were then transferred onto tiles, glazed, fired, and sited throughout the city marking a one and a half mile path from the Train Station at the waterfront through the city to the HVCCA. What an excellent way to continue their mission as a museum — educating the youth of the community.
The New Members’ reception and 120th General Meeting of the National Association of Women Artists was held at the Interchurch Center, NYC. Susan Hammond, President, greeted the members and then introduced the various committee heads who spoke about their work and encouraged participation in the organization. Excitement and applause filled the room as new members were introduced and their work projected onto a large screen. Some of the new inductees came from as far away as California, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Washington State —many had family members with them to share in the eventful day. I was pleased to see that the age range of new members was from 30-70 years old and they appear to be a group of very talented and energetic women. It is quite an honor to be part of this historic organization and the members I spoke with were thrilled, honored and proud to have been accepted. Each month exhibits are held at their gallery at 80 Fifth Ave, NYC and films, trips, lectures, demonstrations are scheduled with additional programming evolving. See their website at www.nawanet.org. Some history: In January of 1889, five innovative women, Grace Fitz-Randolph, Edith Mitchell Prellwitz, Adele Frances Bedell, Anita C. Ashley, and Elizabeth S. Cheever, (barred from full participation in the male-dominated National Academy of Design and The Society of American Artists), founded the Women's Art Club. The organization flourished and in 1913 was renamed the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, reflecting its national influence and the increasing number of women sculptors. Through the 1920s the organization was sponsoring exhibitions nationally and abroad. In the 1930s membership grew to over 1,000 and the organization opened its Argent Galleries on 57th Street in New York City. In 1941 the organization changed its name again to the National Association of Women Artists. It is the oldest professional women's fine art organization in the United States providing a forum for women artists to share ideas and to exhibit their work. Through its exhibitions, programs, events, educational programs and archive N.A.W.A. fosters awareness of the monumental contribution of women to the history of American art. The organization is inclusive and serves professional women artists of all backgrounds and traditions. A Permanent Collection was established in 1991 and is housed at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
Several months ago Liz Ehrlichman of bj spoke Gallery, Huntington, NY, asked if I would jury their Expo 29 International Juried Competition to be held in March 2010. As we are printing every other month I was relatively freed up and pleased to do it. Many organizations just choose the work; this group’s format is to create a show with more work and fewer artists. I spent the better part of a day looking at 167 artists’ work and built a show of 25 artists with 4-6 pieces each. It was a tough job as many of the artists were very accomplished. What I had to do was create a show and that meant varying the mediums and styles. bj spoke currently has 27 members; 24 are full members and 3 are associate members. Potential members can apply by bringing in work and whatever background information they'd like and at the monthly general meetings gallery members vote on acceptance. Spoke Gallery began in 1976 at a Port Washington, NY site and later moved to neighboring Sea Cliff. In 1980 Northport Galleries was established in Northport and seven years later moved to Huntington, NY. In April 1990 Northport Galleries and b. j. spoke Gallery merged to form an even stronger artist-run gallery of professional artists with a broad diversification of styles and media including a crafts component. Additionally they do community outreach, musical evenings, poetry, artist book group and discussions. They can be reached at (631) 549-5106 or www.bjspokegallery.com.
The Vanaver Caravan (www.vanavercaravan.org) 35th Anniversary Celebration (video was on our website this past month) was an exciting event and milestone. I particularly liked how Livia and Bill Vanaver brought us through the years by identifying those who were part of the history and telling of our connection to Vanaver Caravan during the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. She was beaming as she welcomed so many friends and supporters from the past 35 years and that it was a dream come true to have all of us in the same place to celebrate. It was held at Lifebridge Sanctuary in High Falls, NY. Dedicated to sustainable green, this beautiful, comfortable meeting space and retreat center is on 95 acres. Take a look at their site www.lifebridge.org
I was glad I could get to see work by Lanny Lasky and Arline Simon at the Upstream Gallery in Dobbs Ferry, NY. The two gallery spaces were filled to overflowing with friends, family and patrons, all there to support the two artists who often show together. Arline’s landscape paintings are filled with joy; Lanny’s constructions of found objects gives off a great sense of peace.
Allied Artists of America held their 96th Annual National Exhibition at the National Arts Club, NYC and what a spectacular show it was. Top prize winners were: for Oil, Raymond Thornton won the Gold medal of honor and Ray Olivere won the Silver; for Sculpture, Paige Bradley won the Gold, and Eunnye Yang won the Silver; and for Watermedia/ Pastel/ Graphic, Linda Gross Brown won the Gold, and John Salminen won the Silver. Congratulations to all who were part of this show.
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Sketch Club, America's oldest continuously operating club for professional artists on their 150th Anniversary. The club began when the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was awaiting completion of its new building and was without instructional facilities. Life drawing classes were conducted with Thomas Eakins as instructor; lectures on anatomy were also given. Today the Club holds exhibitions and workshops. Find out more about the traveling schedule for the 150 Years & More: Celebrating the Philadelphia Sketch Club at www.sketchclub.org
I can’t remember the last time I saw “My Fair Lady”. I know, early on, I saw it on Broadway (most likely with my parents and siblings as we traditionally celebrated one of our birthdays by going to see a Broadway show), saw the movie in 1964 when it first came out (and again on TV at least once) and in college read Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. I was pleased to see the production mounted by Capital Repertory Theatre, a professional regional theater in Albany, NY with a fine reputation developed over the past 28 years for mounting excellent shows, producing new works, and having an active community outreach program. Capital Rep is one of seventy-six professional theatres in LORT, the League of Resident Theatres, an organization that provides a support system for developing new work as well as reviving classics and perennial favorites. Membership in this organization allows them access to resources otherwise unreachable. I try to get to 1 or 2 productions each year not only for my own enjoyment but to support their efforts by reporting in this column. The house was at capacity even though it was nearing the end of the run. Subscribers, the blood life of most theaters, were well in attendance and a full complement of volunteer Ushers assisted us to our seats. This is a very intimate theatre with only 287 seats. The thrust stage doesn’t allow for much scenery and I am always struck with the ingenuity of how the director creates the space for the actors to perform (aka staging). The musical score was played on two pianos by four different musicians, several of whom had key roles in the production: Larry Daggett played Colonel Pickering and was part of the ensemble; Michael Hicks played Freddy, was part of the ensemble and was the Musical Director of the Production. The rest of the principal cast included Allison Spratt as Eliza Doolittle, Fred Rose as Henry Higgins, and David Beditz as Doolittle. The voices were excellent as was the acting. The next production, Betrayal by Harold Pinter, begins Jan 15 and runs thru Feb 7 and the rest of their season includes: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lady with all the Answers and The Marvelous Wonderettes. Check their schedule at www.capitalrep.org
Stanley Maltzman, an excellent draftsman and fine artist, has a gallery space at 349 Main Street, Catskill NY where he is showing paintings in both oil and pastel, as well as his drawings and etchings. While in Catskill I stopped into Terenchin Fine Art, a gallery now doing online sales and specializing in 19th and 20th Century Estate Art; Gallery M showing work by Patrick Milburn; the Greene County Council on Arts Gallery www.greenearts.org where their annual salon was hanging (some very fine work and good prices) and then at the Union Mills Gallery I met up with Linda Law, curator of the show Legacy in Light: The Art of Rudie Berkhout. These Holograms and installations were quite unique for Catskill and fascinating to view. Take a look at www.RudieBerkhout.com.
Our next issue will be the March/ April issue. If you have missed getting an opportunity or calendar listing into this issue or a display ad for your business or show contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can accommodate you on our website which is currently getting over 650 visitors a day viewing 10+ pages. Make sure to take a look online in April for exclusive web essays and resources. See you out and about and have an excellent winter, regrouping and garnering your forces for spring emergence.
Comment on this column: info@ArtTimesJournal.com