Thursday, August 13, 2009


I was up in New Paltz yesterday seeing how the project was going.  Brian Wallace,the museum curator , reminded me that the current show "Ecotones and Transition Zones" at the Dorsky Museum at SUNY NP will be closing SEPTEMBER 6th .

A provocative show when juxtaposed to the many Hudson River painting shows going on up and down the valley ,( Hudson) ,  now celebrating a 400th anniversary of said explorer bumping up the river in 1609 . 

It stands out as it reflects the diversity of work being produced , conceptualized , created in the region now in a variety of medium. What many forget is that many works of the original school were produced in traditional studio practices not outdoors and usually back in NYC. Many times actually from a photo format . Today NYC has become a safe haven to live in .Having been made habitable by artists converting work to studio/work spaces into living spaces many artists have been unable to continue living and working in the city. We'll see if this trend abates
in the current economic climate ?  

As city rents rose the valley and it's many rivertowns became the new destination  for artists to head for. Many major towns up and down the valley now have many  artists working in them. Beacon with the initial focus on it through the location of the Dia Museum attracted a larger proportion of artists to it. Larger towns such as Poughkeepsie attracted many artists who needed more industrial spaces and had it had a variety of empty commercial space available.

At this point in time there are a considerable number of artists who have made their residence and place of work , their studios , in the valley. A far greater  number of artists produce work in the Hudson Valley than a 100 years ago, yet this is not reflected in the number of  exhibitions celebrating the 400 year anniversary.  The valley for many reasons has attracted artists to it and especially now not only due to economic necessity . There has been a continued reevaluation of the natural splendour of this river region with the significant growth of the environmental movements , started over 40 years ago close to West Point .  Prevailed upon by pioneers such as Pete Seeger and the Clearwater crew. 

But artists though inspired by their surroundings  are not merely mirrors to that landscape to day . There is a cultural phenomena which is quietly occurring which is not about galleries and the relocation of exhibition space to the area but an influx of working artists into an area that for many years had lost its soul. And that loss was not solely a regional phenomena . 

Artists today are engaged in many forms of creative expression . And given the number or lack there of of exhibitions that are reflecting this shift it behooves you as an interested member in your community , having probably relocated here for similar reasons , to engage in seeing the diversity of work being made in the region . The current show up until SEPTMEBER 6TH  is 
more significant in this "QUAD" year.  There are 22 artists whose works were selected to be apart of this show this year . (out of a submission of over 100 artists) All applicants live in the Hudson Valley region.

And when you're there pick up the gallery guide.. its well written and informative . I'll also point you to some of the captions that were added by the curator in a wonderful twist of putting museum objects in this case art work into context. This is an opportunity to take in the work in a new way which is not always bothered with in most exhibition /gallery settings .

Remember todays events are tomorrow's history , were you apart of it ?

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