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News of Woodstock, Shandaken, Phoenicia & Beyond
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    Moving The Water(S): Ashokan Fugues 2016, the world class multi-media installation by West Shokan/New York City-based artist Margaret Cogswell that’s been filling the Kleinert/James Arts Center gallery for the last month in Woodstock, and runs through August 15, had at least a portion of its origins in two very local experiences. “Driving across the old ‘Lemon Squeeze’ by the reservoir got me thinking of all those who were displaced by the building of the reservoir,” notes Cogswell, whose installations have been supported by various grants, and shown in museums across the nation in recent years. “My husband and I moved up here in the early 1980s when he got a job as a studio assistant to [noted Minimalist artist] Al Held, who split his time between New York City and Boiceville. We didn’t want to live on his compound so we ended up renting and then buying a cottage in West Shokan.” Her new work continues a flow of similar installations she’s been working on for over a decade now. Enter the Kleinert and one’s immediately swallowed in by the sounds of water and voices, two looped series of videos, multiple sculptural components that include metallic facsimiles of New York […]

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    Yale Epstein, whose retrospective-like From The Ashes – (burned and saved) exhibit in the solo gallery space at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum runs through this month, is standing at the site where his home and studio burned this past April. A pile of plastic bags and mottled art works leans against a tree, more charred paper pieces sit on tables and boxes under a series of tarps. He explains how he’s been coming here daily, sorting through what’s remained of his 60-plus year art career, planning new works, and his new home and studio, which insurance requires must be built within two years of the conflagration being covered. Epstein wants to explain how his WAAM show — which juxtaposes calligraphic works on paper with mixed media abstractions, early acrylic paintings and even a self-portrait from his student days up against a dramatic wall of burned works — had several curators beyond himself and Sylvia Leonard Wolf. “The first curating was taken care of the night of the fire,” he says, describing the middle-of-night scene where he and those on hand, including neighbor Dr. Neil Ratner, got what they could out from the blaze. The second curator, Epstein adds, was the fire […]

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  • 08/18/16--15:00: Summer Salon at WFG
  • Seven women artists of the Hudson Valley are featured in the Summer Salon Show at the Woodstock Framing Gallery on Mill Hill Road. A sense of summery brightness — with a dash of dark humor — unites the wide but balanced variety of art that will remain on the walls through October 2. “I love to bring together works that are very different but complement each other,” said gallerist Sneha Kapadia. Instead of keeping each artist’s pieces in a cluster, she skillfully mixes them, putting, for instance, Mariyah Sultan’s lively abstracts beside Anna Contes’ shimmering landscapes, allowing them to correspond and contrast in intriguing ways. “After all,” Kapadia pointed out, “in most people’s homes that’s what it will look like. This is a show I’m going to live with for six to eight weeks, and that’s how I like looking at my art.” What could be more summery than laundry on clotheslines? Paintings by Harriet Livathinos show street scenes from Italy, Barcelona, and Bombay, evoking vacation travel and bright Mediterranean (or Subcontinental) light. The forms of the sharply delineated cityscapes are echoed in some of Sultan’s pieces, with dark rectangles suggesting doors and windows among a chaos of lines reminiscent […]

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  • 08/18/16--16:00: Race, Love, and Labor at CPW
  • When the current exhibit of the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s current artists-in-residence program, “Race, Love, and Labor,” first opened at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Fine Art in 2014, the nightly protest actions in Ferguson, Missouri were but a couple weeks old. Black Lives Matter was still primarily a hashtag, founded in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida a year earlier, and not quite a movement. “It is impossible to separate the history of photography from the history of labor, love, and race in America. A reflective look at the collection shows that a critical function of photography, through a vast range of aesthetics, is the labor of becoming and the work it entails — on the land and within our inner worlds,” wrote exhibit curator Sarah Lewis in a statement for the show’s catalog. “They [these images] function, as Frederick Douglass once reminded us, as images that both record what is and conjure a sense of what could be. What does it mean to work in this lineage? These photographs, each the gift of a moment in time through a unique residency, show us where a future path may lead.” The exhibition — which stays […]

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    The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild is opening its Handmade In The 20th Century: An Ode To Nature & Place exhibition with an opening reception, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock. The reception will be preceded by an informal discussion with collectors and lenders to the exhibition at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at the Kleinert. The exhibit takes the nature-inspired work done at the early Byrdcliffe Art Colony and relates its influence to the twentieth century. Curated by Sylvia Leonard Wolf, Tina Bromberg, and Karen Walker, it will showcase work by the original denizens of the Byrdcliffe Colony as well as artists and artisans who lived in the Hudson Valley between 1900-1999 including George Ault, George Bellows, Robert Chanler, William Hunt Diederich, Robert Ebendorf, Mary Frank, Milton Glaser, Philip Guston, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Doris Lee, Judy Pfaff, and Carl Walters. There are approximately 200 pieces in the show, including important furniture and ceramics from Byrdcliffe’s permanent collection. Whether functional objects or unique art pieces, the works in the exhibition illustrate a spectrum of accomplishments in both fine art and design from the artist’s colony founded in 1902 by Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, Jane Byrd […]

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    The Woodstock Museum on Bach Road in Saugerties is a “living museum,” says co-founder Nathan Koenig, who along with Shelli Lipton created an environment there that celebrates the Woodstock experience beyond memories of that famous rain-soaked music festival of nearly 40 years ago. A living museum, says Koenig, is about not only the historical artifacts on display (which include a psychedelic bus), but also enhances the culture of a living colony of the arts. In doing its part to contribute to the cultural life of the region, the Woodstock Museum has sponsored an annual film festival every year over Labor Day weekend since 2000. This year, the 17th annual Woodstock Museum Film Festival will expand to fill an entire week, with films shown Tuesday, August 30 through Monday, September 5. Screenings begin at 6:30 p.m. each night, with the exception of the final day — Labor Day — when the first film starts at noon. Admission to any or all of the 38 films in the festival is free (although donations to the nonprofit Woodstock Museum are welcome). There are two theaters showing the films simultaneously — the same film in both theaters at the same time, largely to accommodate […]

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    In November, 1971, a man calling himself D.B. Cooper boarded a jetliner in Oregon, which he would exit at 10,000 feet in the air with a parachute, a bag stuffed with cash and a leap into history, legend and the lyrics of a Tom Pacheco song. Much later, in July, 2016, the FBI would announce that it was closing its D.B. Cooper skyjacking case file after 45 years without a solution. Tom, something of a legend himself, who had solved the case with the tools of a whimsically unfettered imagination, noted the news with a smile. “I remember thinking, when I wrote that song, that if they ever find the real D.B. Cooper, it’ll lose some of its mystery and punch,” he said, having placed his bet on the lasting mystique of Cooper’s disappearance. “But it seems to be safe now.” With 27 album releases of original songs to his credit, it’s not a sure thing that the song will be on the playlist for his now traditional set of two Labor Day weekend concerts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4 at the Empire State Railway Museum, 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia, but it is […]

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  • 09/01/16--16:00: Music: A handful at Maverick
  • We had a world record five classical Maverick Concerts since my last column a mere two weeks ago. The first, August 20, was the annual Chamber Orchestra Concert with Maverick’s music director Alexander Platt leading the “Maverick Chamber Players,” mostly members of Boston’s Aurora Ensemble. The program opened with piano soloist Adam Tendler, who made a great impression last summer, in Bach’s Concerto No. 4 in A. His approach was crisp and clear although his embellishments to the text were sparse. Platt’s ten string players could easily have been overbalanced by the piano but they never were. The strings alone then played Aaron Copland’s rarely-heard late masterpiece, Nonet for Strings. It’s one long movement evolving through several moods, mostly somber but evolving into dancelike rhythms in Copland’s “Americana” style. The playing was strong and committed. Cellist Emmanuel Feldman took the stage to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Alberto Ginastera with his “Punena No. 2” for solo cello, a highly imaginative piece which builds on the techniques of Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello. Feldman played this piece for Maverick three years ago; if memory serves he played it even better this time. Tendler took the stage after intermission for a […]

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    “If you’re not trained as an artist, there’s no right or wrong,” said sculptor Nick Della Penna, standing amidst the monumental yet whimsical structures of Rock Star Meadow in Lake Hill. “What you do can be a disaster, or it can be freeing. If you keep looking at it, it changes. Your eye keeps feeding back and tells you what to do.” Over the past 28 years, Della Penna has built a stunning complex of walls, gates, and pillars, decorated with sculptures and mosaics. His muse and collaborator, Estelle Ross, died four months ago. “I feel so deeply lonely on the meadow without her,” said Della Penna. “When you work together with someone, you get very close — in a different way from a marriage.” He has inherited her dog, a sturdy bit of fluff named Reggie. Ross and Della Penna met at a school in West Babylon, Long Island, where he was teaching third grade, and she was teaching fifth. They shared the same birthday, October 7. “Teaching public school, you have to have somebody,” said Della Penna. “You look for a person you can survive with.” In 1980, Della Penna and his wife, Lorraine, bought the property near […]

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  • 09/01/16--18:00: The Curse of Batavia
  • A werewolf and a werepanther, fast-paced banter inspired by George Bernard Shaw, songs that alternate Gilbert and Sullivan with haunting Balkan dissonance — these are the ingredients of Katherine Burger’s musical comedy The Curse of Batvia. A staged reading will be performed in the rustic Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock on Friday, September 9, at 8 p.m. “It’s like P.G. Wodehouse on speed,” explained Burger. She is perhaps best-known locally as an artist, partly due to her 18 years running the residency program at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, but Burger also writes, sings, and acts — skills that brought her into the world of “musical comedy — two of the greatest words in the English language,” she said with a laugh. She has been writing plays for many years, including Morphic Resonance, which was produced in Los Angeles, Paris, London, and Berlin. The Curse of Batvia was begun when she was living in Olivebridge in a little house where Spalding Gray had spent some time. On a dreary November evening, Burger, an admitted Anglophile, longed to read an atmospheric mystery of the moors. She didn’t have such a book at hand, so she decided to write a play. She had […]