The go to source for Creatives seeking Resources and Insights
By Cornelia Seckel
ART TIMES March/ April 2012
IN MY WANDERINGS these past few months I’ve visited some new venues, met new artists, learned about new directions for several organizations.
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, NYC recently announced the release
of its collection dataset, which will broaden access and allow for increased analysis of the museum’s object holdings. Basic museum data for more than 60 percent of the collection (more than 120,000 records) is now available as a single downloadable file at cooperhewitt.org/data. This open data release is the first of its kind for the Smithsonian Institution.
I was excited to see of Eugene Ludins: An American Fantasist curated by Susana Torruella Leval at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz and on view through July 15. I learned so much more about the man who, along with his wife Hannah, were friends and early supporters, encouraging Raymond and I nearly 30 years ago when we began ART TIMES. Raymond has reviewed the exhibit so I will just limit my comments to saying how pleased I was to be able to see the exhibit and to lend two drawings to the show and then to see them hanging amongst work other friends of Gene and Hannah had lent. Susana will be giving a lecture on April 12 and May 13 at the Dorsky and on June 16 at the Kleinert/ James Art Center in Woodstock, NY.
I had the good luck to be visiting with Edith Rae Brown: sculptor, painter and friend. Edye invited me to see one of Jessica Lang Dance Company’s presentation to a group from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in NY APAP|NYC. During the APAC/NY Conference “buyers” of performances make the rounds to see /view performers to decide who and what they want to bring to their venues. APAC is the national service and advocacy organization with more than 1,400 members worldwide, dedicated to developing and supporting the performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it. So I had the good fortune to see excerpts from several dance pieces choreographed by Jessica Lang. This new company, founded in 2011 began a Joyce Theater Residency at Joyce Soho, a performance space, created in 1996, by the Joyce Theater Foundation, helping dancers and choreographers to develop and perform their work. Learn more about the programs and companies that perform at Joyce Soho: Joyce.org. The dancers were excellent, the choreography innovative and engaging, and the costuming stunning. The company will have its debut at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 80th Anniversary Season this summer.
An evening at The Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford, NY, is an great way to see good theatre and have an excellent dinner. I went to see Big River, the Mark Twain story of Huck Finn’s journey down the Mississippi River. The show was timed to run during Black History Month and a great effort was made to bring students to the production so that they could better understand the effects slavery had on Black and White people. Currently showing thru March is ‘S Wonderful the new Gershwin Musical— an all singing, all dancing musical featuring over 42 songs by the Gershwin Brothers George & Ira Gershwin. For tickets and to see their full season’s schedule: broadwaytheatre.com
The Pen and Brush, founded 117 years ago, is an international membership organization for women in the visual, literary and performing arts and supporting public members. The Pen and Brush presents a variety of events throughout the year, including art exhibits, music and theater performances, writers' workshops and educational events. Most of these events are open to the general public, while some are designed specifically to benefit the membership. The Pen and Brush purchased its 1840's Greek Revival townhouse in 1923 and has occupied the building ever since. For the past few years the building has been for sale as the organization found, for a variety of reasons, that the space no longer worked well for them. Janice Sands, Executive Director, recently told me that the sale of the building has gone to contract and they are in contract for the purchase of a space down the block from the Flatiron Building. The new building will provide 5500 square feet of space they plan to use for exhibitions, readings, performances, a library, meeting rooms and offices. For updates and picture of the soon to be home of Pen and Brush: penandbrush.org
The Vanaver Caravan celebrates American and International dance and music and has worked on many socially-oriented projects and as well as pioneering in-depth arts education programs throughout the U.S. for both public and private schools, often creating a curriculum in conjunction with teachers and administrators. They offer imaginative workshops, a Dance Institute and SummerDance! an intensive program. They have performed in a symphony hall, an outdoor festival, in the classroom, school assembly, as well as at a conference. In celebration of their 40th Anniversary, Bardavon will be presenting the Hudson Valley Philharmonic’s Russian Caravan featuring Two World Premieres by Bill Vanaver and The Vanaver Caravan Dancers, Livia Vanaver, choreographer, at UPAC, Kingston, NY on March 31. For more information: vanavercaravan.org
I went to the 2012 Woodstock School of Art Alumni Exhibit and it was a pleasure to see the work of former students and see many artists I’ve known throughout the years of publishing ART TIMES. The school has a fine reputation and over 30 teachers offer classes throughout the year, summer and winter, in newly renovated air-conditioned or radiant heated studios. An average of more than four hundred students from the United States and countries abroad currently enroll in any given year. The schedule includes daily classes in drawing, painting, composition, sculpture and printmaking, with workshops in specialized techniques under the guidance of experts in their respective fields. Take a look at their schedule at woodstockschoolofart.org
I went to St. Gregory’s Church in Woodstock NY to hear Maria Todaro, Louis Otey, Kerry Henderson, David Mayfield, Justin Kolb and guest star Eduardo Villa launch Voicefest 2012.The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice will be held on August 2,3,4 &5. Organizers and founders Todaro, Otey and Henderson expect to have 22 events over the 4 days in various venues throughout the town of Phoenicia, NY. The centerpiece of the festival will be Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. New additions to the festival are Divas Comedy, Opera and Victor Borge, Broadway Extravaganza starring Ron Raines and the grand finale a Celebration of Peter Schickele. Peter will be sharing an insider’s view of the program. Each year is stronger with even more fabulous internationally acclaimed voices. To lend your support for this Festival that also supports the region see: PhoeniciaVoiceFest.com
Christina Varga is the essence of Woodstock past, present and, I hope, future. She is the owner of the Varga Gallery in Woodstock, NY and this year’s Women’s Show & Woodstock Goddess Festival 2012 was another huge success. Successful in that the gallery was packed with artists and supporters of the artists, work sold, the live music had people dancing and new connections and friendships were formed. Christina exhibits select self-taught, outsider, emerging and visionary artists. Each show is curated and installed by Christina although there may be guest curators from time to time. The gallery is open year-round. The next exhibit is Birds of a Feather a Spring Group Show and opens with another happening on April 21. See Varga Gallery on Facebook and at vargagallery.com
I was recently asked if I came across any unique ways that artists are showing their work. Nothing came to mind that I haven’t seen happening for the past 25 years— just different labels. Let me know if you come across new ways that artists are showing their work.
Keep in mind that our ever-expanding website arttimesjournal.com has new essays, videos, calendar and opportunity listings as well as an excellent and inexpensive way to advertise. Businesses, organizations and individual artists that either miss the print issue or find that there is an even wider audience for their message can run a banner ad on our site. Give a call or email me to learn more about this opportunity. I have been making short movies to give a visual sense of the events I often write about in the Culturally Speaking Column and placed them on YouTube youtube.com/user/arttimes as well as the video page of ART TIMES online.
And lastly, for now, become a fan of the ART TIMES Facebook page and write about your events.