I, the juror
We can’t yet tell you what the new juried group show opening in the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum’s main gallery this Saturday, March 12 is going to look like, seeing that it was still being whittled down and picked through as of press time. But given what we know of its juror, the conceptual photographer, muralist and sculptor (and former Poughkeepsie gallerist) Franc Palaia, it should have spunk.
Furthermore, by playing off the solo gallery room’s austere beauty this coming month – delivered with s stunning series of beautifully toned and singularly accomplished photographs by David Morris Cunningham entitled Remembrances of Things Present, we can’t help but expect that there’ll be a special shimmer to everything on view this month.
Cunningham, who has been showing in area galleries and publications with increasing regularity over the past year, takes a great leap with these new photographs. The series grew out of a personal process of attrition and simplification the artist started in the past year, at first shooting what he was throwing away. And as Cunningham himself says, what he ended up focusing on was what he decided to keep.
“My original idea for the series was to photograph the memory objects as I released them. Rid myself of the clutter while maintaining a visual history,” he has said of Remembrances of Things Present, a witty revision of the great Proust work’s title. “As I began to make the images it struck me that I wasn’t letting go emotionally…And then, suddenly, the idea decided to go off in a new direction, to follow a divergent path. Photograph the things I keep. Photograph the things I place around myself. Photograph the objects that continue to speak to me, whether in the physical or the emotional or the metaphorical. Photograph where I am now.”
The result, Cunningham said, is an almost-classic collection of beautiful things, rendered beautifully. “A collection of poems,” he calls them, “A collection of self-portraits…a reflection in the mirror. It is the path I am learning to follow: quiet, simple and uncluttered.”
Anyone reminded of how we all feel as the snow melts back to mud and we each start dreaming of Spring Cleanings?
Palaia’s theme in the WAAM front galleries, meanwhile, is simply “March Group Show,” which means what ends up the wall will be his choice, pure and simple. Given his eye for both the new and the fun, as well as the classical and the edgy, it will be interesting to see how much that gets chosen, and hung, reflects the season, and how much simply reflects the other works chosen, with the whole as complete a work as any of its parts.
Opening elsewhere in the WAAM building on Saturday will be some of Howard Goldson’s abstract works in the Founders Gallery; a selection of small works juried by landscape painter Bruce Bundock, winner of the Woodstock School of Art’s Hudson 400 Award, and a Youth Exhibition Space (YES!) exhibit of work by Bailey Middle School ESL students. As well as the continuing presence of the Harriet Tannin retrospective in the Towbin Wing, up through next month.++
The Woodstock Artists Association & Museum is located at 28 Tinker Street in the heart of Woodstock, and is open on Friday and Saturday from noon-6 p.m., and Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. The openings this Saturday, March 12 all run from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. For further information, call 679-2940 or visit www.woodstockart.org.
Laura Levine, the Mt. Tremper-based artist, filmmaker and Mystery Spot owner, is having a truly great winter. She’s got not one but two major New York City exhibits up simultaneously that include her seminal photographic work from the 1980s rock world…plus more great opportunities seemingly popping into view every day.
Up since the middle of last month, the Museum of Modern Art has a number of Levine’s works in their Looking at Music 3.0 exhibit, which explores the influence of music on contemporary art practices in New York in the 1980s and 1990s and runs through June 6. There, her work shares space with the likes of Keith Haring, Christian Marclay, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Lee Quinones, Miranda July, Sonic Youth, Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, and Karen Finley, many of whose earlier careers Levine helped document for the rock press of the time. The exhibition is in MOMA’s second floor Yoshiko and Akio Morita Media Gallery at 11 West 53rd Street. For further information call 212-708-9400 or visit www.moma.org.
Starting this week, Levine’s works are also on view as part of the Vivienne Westwood, 1980-89 exhibit at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, up through April 2 at Seventh Avenue and 27th Street. This exhibition focuses on the punk-turned-knighted Lady’s turnaround from counterculture provocateur to acclaimed fashion designer. Featuring more than 40 objects, including clothing, photographs, magazines, and videos, the exhibition explores Westwood’s design aesthetic, press coverage, and clientele…with Levine’s striking images of Boy George and others demonstrating the allure of her style then and now.
For more on that show call 212-217-4558 or visit www.fitnyc.edu/museum.
Finally, as a surprise bonus, Levine recently pointed out that one of her images, of Talking Head Tina Weymouth and Grandmaster Flash from way back when, recently made it onto the “Picture of the Day” slot on www.theworldsbestever.com.
“Woo!,” Levine responded on her Facebook page. “We have no idea what that means! But it sounds impressive! So, we say...‘Woo!’”++
For more on Levine’s photos, as well as her illustration and film work, and her fabulously fun Mystery Spot shop on Main Street in Phoenicia, visit www.lauralevine.com.