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Cool & collected

HVVACC member organizations get joint spotlight at Dorsky Museum exhibit opening next Saturday

by Paul Smart
September 08, 2011 01:09 PM | 0 0 comments | 685 685 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jane Byrd Whitehead’s Collected Foxglove
Jane Byrd Whitehead’s Collected Foxglove
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“Linking Collections, Building Connections: Work from the Hudson Valley Visual Art Collections Consortium,” a rich new multi-institutional exhibit that has been up at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art for several weeks now, and gets celebrated with a special reception next Saturday, September 17, has a political value as important as its many purely cultural and visual strengths. Curated by the astute Dorsky Museum curator Brian Wallace and Center for Photography at Woodstock executive director Ariel Shanberg, this show running into mid-December demonstrates the importance of funding local arts organizations, as well as the growing need for us all to work together during this time of a growing civic lack of will.

The exhibition celebrates the nascent Hudson Valley Visual Arts Collections Consortium (HVVACC), which came together last year when several local arts administrators joined for a fundraising push to bring in new money to help with the digital storage of their individual collections’ materials. With a kickoff grant from a federal museum initiative, the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW), the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW), the Woodstock Artists’ Association & Museum and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild have been developing an online visual database and a series of events and publications, and pushing toward the creation of a regional study and exhibition center.

The materials that Wallace and Shanberg have brought together include more than 150 artworks, with wall text explaining the connections that link these disparate paintings, sculptures, furnishings, prints, drawings, photographs and conceptual works. Organized into an introductory section, a selection of “Iconic Works,” “Making History,” printmaking, “Circles of Affiliation,” case study, patronage and Kingston – plus a newly commissioned installation wall-full project by artist Michael Asbill titled The Cloud – “Linking Collections, Building Connections” is another great show that displays the abundant sophistication of museum-quality art now available in the Hudson Valley. From Asbill back through equally contemporary work on view from WSW, CPW and the Dorsky, through to historic artifacts and indicators of the legacies upon which the region’s cultural strengths have grown, the exhibition serves as a great teaser to the various collections held by the HVVACC membership.

Moreover, in tandem with the Dorsky’s concurrent shows – a “Hudson Valley Artists 2011: Exercises in Unnecessary Beauty” regional compendium exhibit up into November and “Thick and Thin: Ken Landauer and Julianne Swartz,” introducing two media and idea explorers through the end of October – what’s visible here becomes a glaring example of the primacy of new art coming from our region, as well as Wallace’s maturation as a great curator with a keen sensitivity to the quality of Hudson Valley art these days.

Special events around this exhibit include professional development workshops for high school teachers scheduled for September 20, 27 and 30 and a “Symposium on Region-Specific Art and Museum Practice” on Saturday afternoon, November 12. The official opening reception for “Linking Collections, Building Connections: Work from the Hudson Valley Visual Art Collections Consortium” takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. For more about the Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum or call (845) 257-3844.

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